A Fullerton police officer is accused of an unprovoked confrontation of a disabled man two weeks before he was involved in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas, for which the officer faces trial.
Officer Manuel Ramos is accused in court documents filed last month of throwing Mark Edwin Walker, 59, of Chino Hills, to the ground and stomping on his hand on June 21, 2011.
Kelly Thomas Case: Timeline, Surveillance Video
The alleged confrontation happened 14 days before Ramos and fellow officer, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, were involved in a violent confrontation of Thomas, a homeless man who suffered from mental illness. Thomas' death prompted the police chief to retire after taking medical leave and a recall effort of Fullerton city officials. Thomas died from his wounds five days after the confrontation on July 11, 2011.
A judge earlier ordered Ramos and Cicinelli to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in Thomas’ death. Ramos also faces an additional second-degree murder charge.
The Walker lawsuit, filed May 14 in Orange County Superior Court, names the city of Fullerton and the Fullerton Police Department, in addition to Ramos. The suit seeks an unspecified dollar amount.
"He (Ramos) is a violent person who thinks beating up a suspect is an appropriate way to show he’s the guy in charge," said Walker's attorney Russell Arens.
The complaint alleges that Ramos approached Walker near his car as he was returning from buying his prescription and asked what he was doing.
“Ramos, with no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so, then grabbed (Walker) and proceeded to place (Walker’s) hands on his car and began to pat him down,” court papers said.
Walker asked Ramos, “Why are you hassling me?”
Sgt. Jeff Stuart, a Fullerton Police Department spokesman, did not return a call seeking comment.
The lawsuit alleges excessive use of force, assault and battery, negligence, false arrest, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other allegations. Walker suffered a broken bone in his hand and cuts to his body and face.
Ramos picked Walker up, slammed him to the ground and stomped on his left hand before taking him to the Fullerton Police Department jail, the lawsuit alleges.
When Walker mentioned that he lost his wedding band during the arrest, Ramos told Walker, “(Expletive) shut up,” court documents said.
Walker was cleaned up, cited on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, released from custody and walked the four miles back to his vehicle, court papers said.
Walker alleges that Ramos detained him for the sole purpose of “harassing someone” the officer deemed “unworthy.”