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14 people arrested in protests over acquittal of Calif. officers

346636_Kelly ThomasAt least 14 people have been arrested in protests over the acquittal of two former California police officers in the beating death of a homeless man.

Last Monday’s acquittal of two former Fullerton officers in the 2011 death of Kelly Thomas, 37, drew hundreds of people to streets over the weekend.

The acquitted police officers had kneed and jolted Thomas with an electric stun gun and used the blunt end to strike him in the face and head. He died five days after the violent confrontation in July 2011.

Former Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos was acquitted of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

The protests turned violent Sunday when a few participants attacked a news camera operator. The incident led police to declare the protest an unlawful assembly.

Some protesters took over intersections, blocked streets and vandalized business.

Police officers in riot gear flocked to disperse the crowd and started making arrests, police Sgt. Jeff Stuart said Sunday.

One person was arrested for assault, two for vandalism and 10 for refusing to follow police orders to disperse. Police said a 14th protester was arrested later, according to the Associated Press.

Thomas’ father thanked the demonstrators at a rally in front of the Fullerton Police Department. He said without public outrage, his son’s case would not have ended in a trial.

“If you were here for 2011, for the protests,” Ron Thomas said, “give yourself a hand. You are the people, you made this happen.”

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