Surgeon: OC homeless man came comatose, never woke

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A surgeon has testified that an Orange County homeless man whose death has put two police officers on trial arrived at the hospital comatose with organs failing and never regained consciousness.

Dr. Michael Lekawa, chief of trauma surgery at UC Irvine Medical Center, gave the testimony Tuesday at the trial of two Fullerton police officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, accused in the death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Lekawa, who treated Thomas and has watched surveillance video of his beating by police, said the cause of death was lack of oxygen to Thomas’ brain he suffered in the struggle as officers held him down and kept him from breathing.

Lekawa acknowledged under cross-examination that Thomas’s broken ribs could have been caused by CPR.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,

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