A grainy black and white video showing Kelly Thomas, a shirtless, homeless man, being hit again and again with fists, a baton and finally the butt of a stun gun by Fullerton, California police. Is the centre piece of a court case against two police officers charged with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Captured on close circuit television, Thomas, a well-known mentally ill local figure, is seen being pushed to the floor by two and then three police officers. He can be heard pleading for help. Thomas died five days after the fatal beating.

This video is part of a preliminary hearing in which a judge is set to decide if there is sufficient evidence for two policemen to stand trial for the incident.

Manuel Ramos, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with Thomas' death, and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years to life in prison if found guilty. Jay Cicinelli, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Defense lawyers argued that there was not enough proof to say that the involved police were directly responsible for Thomas' death and that medics could have been to blame.

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Written and Presented by Ann Salter