Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Kelly Thomas: It's unclear whether Fullerton will fire officers [Updated]

September 21, 2011 |  3:54 pm

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

Fullerton city officials will be talking to attorneys Wednesday afternoon about whether officers involved in the Kelly Thomas beating should be fired after being charged with felony crimes, City Manager Joe Felz said.

The Orange County district attorney's office has filed charges against two of six officers involved in the incident that led to Thomas' death.

Photos: Kelly Thomas' death

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. The investigation did not find grounds to charge the other four officers involved in the altercation July 5.

Now that the district attorney's office has completed its investigation, Felz said that Michael Gennaco, the consultant hired by the city to conduct an independent investigation into the case and into practices in the department, will be able to move forward. 

All six officers involved in the Thomas incident remain on paid administrative leave. Unlike most Los Angeles County cities, Fullerton does not automatically suspend without pay officers charged with felony offenses, said department spokesman Sgt. Andrew Goodrich.

Full coverage: Kelly Thomas' death

There are a host of legal issues surrounding police officers' employment. Felz said he hoped to update the employment status of the officers by next week, or at least on the status of Gennaco's investigation.

[Updated at 4:35 p.m.: The Fullerton Police Department held a brief news conference Wednesday afternoon noting that all six officers remain on administrative leave.

Acting Police Chief Kevin Hamilton said the department remains "fully operational" and that the department will continue cooperating with both the independent investigation and an FBI civil rights investigation.

Hamilton did not take any questions after making his brief statement.]

The city has launched a series of trainings of all police officers in the wake of the Thomas case. The five-step training focuses on officers' interactions with the homeless and mentally ill as well as use of force and Tasers. The trainings will be completed by Oct. 18, Felz said.

The Fullerton City Council voted Tuesday night to form a citizens task force to look at homelessness and mental health issues in the city.


Angry driver allegedly runs down pedestrian in Redondo Beach

Protesters don’t want 100 eucalyptus trees removed in Costa Mesa

Dog is 'the hero' for finding remains of nursing student Michelle Le

-- Abby Sewell and Richard Winton

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

Credit: Orange County district attorney's office