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Fullerton Police Chief Says Officers Involved in Kelly Thomas Incident Not Welcome Back

Two of the three men were acquitted of charges against them; charges against the other were dropped after the acquittals.

Former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli in his mug shot when arrested for involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force in the death of Kelly Thomas. Cicinelli was acquiited of all charges.
Former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli in his mug shot when arrested for involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force in the death of Kelly Thomas. Cicinelli was acquiited of all charges.

Three former Fullerton Police Department officers involved in the deadly struggle with transient Kelly Thomas may no longer be facing charges, but are not welcome to their old jobs, Chief Dan Hughes told City Council members Tuesday night.

Hughes also acknowledged that he met with FBI investigators after former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli and former Officer Manuel Ramos were acquitted of charges in Thomas' death.

Prosecutors on Friday dismissed an indictment against former Officer Joe Wolfe.

Until recently, Fullerton officials would only say the three officers no longer worked for the city. However, during a hearing without the jury present in Ramos and Cicinelli's trial, attorney Greg Palmer acknowledged they were fired as he objected to prosecutors' effort to get their employment records introduced into evidence.

A day after Cicinelli was acquitted, his attorney, Zachery Lopes, said the former corporal would begin the process of attempting to regain the post he lost in July 2012 through an administrative hearing.

The hearing, which can be public if Cicinelli wishes, would lead to a recommendation to city officials, Lopes said. If city officials refuse to take Cicinelli back onto the force, he can seek a "writ of mandate" in Orange County Superior Court, Lopes said.

If a Superior Court judge rules against Cicinelli, then he could try to appeal to higher courts, but that is rare and difficult to do, Lopes said.

It's not clear if Ramos or Wolfe would try to get their posts back.

The 37-year-old Thomas skirmished with six officers July 5, 2011, and was taken off life support and died five days later.

Thomas' father, Ron, is suing the city.

- City News Service

John Mark Ferris January 22, 2014 at 09:10 PM
I once lived in a beach town that recruited rather sadistic guys from the Jim Crow South to do their police work. It was a unique situation- a Navy town with summertime family tourists who didn't want any trouble from drunken sailors on weekend liberty. The cops there "overextended" their authority in ways that will never become published civic history, but I was a part of it- at the receiving end. We really, really need to reform municipal police departments in this country so that incidents like this become a rarity. The one thing I can say for this cop is that I see, by his glass eye,that he is no stranger to violence.
Machlin January 23, 2014 at 11:26 AM
In Nazi Germany, sure the gestapo was a problem, but the general public citizenry backed up and supported the evil state forces. In the Kelly Thomas trial, the twelve jurors conspired in backing up the policemen who bullied and murdered an innocent man.

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