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Kelly Thomas: Councilman says he hired officers charged in case

September 21, 2011 |  8:22 pm

Booking photos of Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos, left, and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli

Fullerton City Councilman Pat McKinley, the city's former police chief, said Wednesday night that he hired the two officers charged in connection with the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas.

"I hired the two officers charged today and cannot comprehend how they drifted so far from their training," McKinley said in a statement.

Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

Photos: Kelly Thomas' death

McKinley, a former officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, was Fullerton's police chief for 16 years before being elected to the City Council in November 2010.

His comments were included with statements that were also issued by Fullerton Mayor Richard F. Jones and Mayor Pro Tem Don Bankhead.

The three officials are facing a recall effort by people who blame them for failing to exhibit leadership and act aggressively in the wake of the July beating that has rocked the city.

Full coverage: Kelly Thomas' death

The statements, which offered condolences to the Thomas family, were part of an email sent to reporters by a community group opposing the recall effort.

Jones said "it has been hard to refrain from commenting" about the beating of Thomas, adding that he had remained silent because of the criminal investigation by the Orange County district attorney's office.

"My sincere apology goes out to the Thomas family for the pain they have suffered with the loss of Kelly," Jones said.

Bankhead, a retired Fullerton police officer who spent 31 years on the force, said "two rogue police officers failed Kelly ... and disgraced the department and our city."


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-- Robert J. Lopez


Photo: Booking photos of Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos, left, and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli.

Credit: Orange County district attorney's office