UPDATE, 2:37 P.M.: I can't vouch for this lawsuit. For 19 hours, Russell R. Arens--the 1988 University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law graduate who is the plaintiff's lawyer--knowingly ignored five calls to answer simple questions. That conduct makes me leery of the merits of the suit. After additional investigation, my prediction: The Fullerton police and Ramos will win this case. If my educated hunch is right and this is a cheap attempt to capitalize on the death of Kelly Thomas, I despise it.
ORIGINAL POST, 8 A.M.: About two weeks before he turned his fatal charms on an unarmed, homeless, schizophrenic man at the Fullerton Transportation Center in July 2011, did police officer Manual Anthony Ramos unnecessarily attack a disabled man in a grocery store parking lot?
That's the story told in a lawsuit filed this month in Orange County Superior Court against the Fullerton Police Department (FPD) and Ramos, who is on the verge of formally being fired and faces a second degree murder charge for the July 5, 2011, fatal cop beating of Kelly Thomas.
Mark Edwin Walker, who is disabled, said that he stopped at an Albertsons in Fullerton on the evening of June 21 to fill a pharmacy prescription. When he left the store, Ramos approached and searched him without stating a reason, according to the lawsuit.
"Why are you hassling me?" Walker says he asked Ramos.
According to the lawsuit, the cop said nothing in response but picked up the 58-year-old Chino Hills man, slammed him to the ground and stomped on his hand.
The alleged police brutality knocked off Walker's wedding ring and fractured a bone in his hand.
Ramos apparently wasn't sympathetic.
When Walker complained about the excessive force, the cop replied, "Fucking shut up," according to the lawsuit.
Walker claims Ramos falsely arrested him for being intoxicated in public, threw him in jail with wounds and, hours later, made him walk nearly four miles back to his vehicle parked at the grocery store.
Sound like the thug involved in savagely killing Thomas?
A judge eventually dismissed the charge against Walker at the request of the Orange County District Attorney's office because Ramos was himself a criminal suspect.
Arens, Walker's Seal Beach-based lawyer, said in the 20-page complaint for damages that Ramos "had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to approach and detain [Walker] and did so for the sole purpose of harassing a 58-year-old disabled man Ramos deemed unworthy."
Lawyers for the FPD and Ramos have not yet filed a formal response to the allegations, but their defense is sure to mention that Walker got nailed for a 2005 DUI.
The case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge Jamoa A. Moberly.
Ramos and officer Jay Cicinelli, who also faces criminal charges in the Thomas killing, lost an attempt to derail the Orange County District Attorney's office case against them at an April preliminary hearing.
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Both cops say they are innocent because Thomas didn't obey instructions and caused them to reluctantly use force.
(rscottmoxley at ocweekly dot com)