Cop Who Was Fired After Kelly Thomas Beating Trying To Get His Job Back

from the because-we-can't-trust-the-mentally-ill/homeless-to-beat-themselves dept

The disappointing (and surprising) "not guilty" verdict handed down by Orange County jurors in the beating death of homeless man Kelly Thomas has sparked a variety of reactions. Thomas' father called it a "miscarriage of justice." A protest held over the weekend resulted in thirteen arrests. The FBI, for no discernible reason, has declared it will look into the evidence, presumably in hopes of righting the perceived wrong of the jury's verdict with an actual wrong that undermines the criminal justice system.

One of the two cops charged in the beating of Kelly Thomas, former officer Jay Cicinelli, is now fighting for his job back after being found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. This itself isn't unusual. Fired cops who have been cleared of charges frequently try to return to the force. The unusual aspect here is that Cicinelli's former boss doesn't want him back.

Dan Hughes, Fullerton chief of police, said in a statement that his decision to fire Cicinelli is separate and unaffected by the acquittal.

“Former Police Officer Jay Cicinelli has alleged that he was wrongfully terminated and has demanded his job back," Hughes said. " I stand behind the employment decisions I have made."
Cicinelli previously sued the LAPD when it assigned him a desk job after a suspect shot him, taking out one of his eyes. By the end of it, he had been promised 70% of his wages for the rest of his life ($40,000/yr.) but still wasn't returned to active duty as a patrolman.

This left him in a bit of trouble when the footage of Thomas' beating surfaced, showing that he was back in active duty (albeit with a different police department). The pension board considered yanking his guaranteed payout, but ultimately decided to not to pursue the case.

Now, Cicinelli wants his job back with the Fullerton Police Dept., which Chief Hughes intends to fight every step of the way. There's no word yet on whether Officer Manuel Ramos will try to return to the force after being acquitted for more serious charges (second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter). Whatever the jury saw in the recording of Thomas' beating (including Cicinelli telling other officers that he "ran out of options and smashed [Thomas'] face to hell" [using the butt end of his Taser]) may not have convinced them that Cicinelli crossed the line into criminality, but it certainly seems to have convinced his former boss.



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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    if the boss is fighting to stop having someone reemployed, it is for a good reason, better, i suspect than just not liking him. i wonder if the suspicion is that someone else will be in for 'a beating' now that he has gotten away with killing once!

     

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  2.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    More likely it's damage control, the boss knows what a disaster PR-wise it would be to have him around while the trial is so fresh in people's minds, and so he dumped him in an attempt to distance the department, and himself, from it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    Civil rights

    So the Techdirt author does not think it's fair that the ffederal government uses its constitutional power to enforce civil rights?

    Congress has the power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce the Bill of Rights against anyone who under color of law violates an individual's civil rights.

    This has been blackletter law since the 1950s.

    Without statutes like 242, Alabama police could have murdered martin Luther King and suffered no consequences.

     

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  4.  
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    NeuronsFromSpace, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    The scientific and well reasoned mind would accurately deduce that the sub-reason Cicinelli is having employment troubles is because having only one eye leaves Cicinelli with no depth perception. The fact that Cicinelli was back on duty, and allowed to use weapons that *require* depth perception implicates his boss to a paramount degree.

     

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  5.  
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    Another Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Civil rights

    I think the author's concern was that the feds would be attempting a whitewash of what many perceive as police violation of civil rights.

    And many would say that the Alabama police department, with the assistance of special forces snipers, did and did. I'm not quite convinced of that yet.

     

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  6.  
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    NeuronsFromSpace, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Civil rights

    "I think the author's concern was that the feds would be attempting a whitewash of what many perceive as police violation of civil rights."

    That's the way I read it.

     

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  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    Ah come on, guns don't require depth perception, who needs to be able to tell if a target is 5' or 50' away before pulling the trigger? /s

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 3:30pm

    Firearms don't require depth perception. It's not uncommon to see target shooters wear an eye patch, in fact.

     

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  9.  
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    CorporateHeadquarters, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    KILLER COPS

    Jan 21. In our American Police State now there are lots and lots of killer cops, we even recently had a Killer Neiborhood Watch Guy. We got killer cop prosecutors, killer cop judges, killer cop juries. We got dead black guys reaching for their ID. We got dead homeless women wielding deadly shopping carts. We got killer cops who are afraid for their lives cuz of homeless people. We got killer cops who are afraid for their lives cuz of children with toy guns. We got millions of Americans who do not get a $40,000 paycheck. We got two Fullerton killer cops who enjoy driving all over town taunting their protestors. We got a lot of dead Americans killed / executed / murdered by cops. And now we got on alive pathological liar as a Gov. of New Jersey named Chris Crispy - he's done!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 4:49pm

    We don't need killers on the police force. It's a public safety hazard, as has been shown through the murder of Kelly Thomas.

     

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  11.  
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    NeuronsFromSpace, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re:

    As I said: "the scientific and well reasoned mind". Once lined up, weapons with sights require no depth perception. The same cannot be said of batons, tonfas, or the butt-end of anything (including fists).

     

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  12.  
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    NeuronsFromSpace, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 5:11pm

    Re:

    Since when are guns with sights (supposed to be) the first resort of a cop on the beat?

     

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    arkiel (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 5:38pm

    One of the root causes of killer cops? Strong policeman unions that back pieces of shit like this cop. Seeing as how cops do nothing but work within exceptions to the Constitution (i.e., the Constitution allows people to be arrested, etc) it seems kinda silly that they would even be allowed to unionize. I guess we should let the army and national guard union up too?

     

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    BeeAitch (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Ever since 'officer one-eye' was hired, I would guess...

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 12:10am

    Feds stay out, parents sue.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 12:27am

    Re:

    This may be one place feds belong....

     

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  17.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 1:54am

    Any human being that saw the footage with the sound and saw the aftermath pic was probably shocked and wanted those officers arrested for life for some sweet justice. Calls into question what the fuck that court was composed of...

     

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  18.  
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    Pragmatic, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 3:30am

    Re:

    Citation? There is no evidence of any union supporting Cicinelli or trying to strongarm the force into taking him back. His efforts to get back onto active duty after losing an eye went through the courts.

    Stop demonizing unions out of hand.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 6:46am

    Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, told reporters: "These peace officers were doing their jobs...they did what they were trained to do."

    So they're trained to beat people to death? I think the jury was stacked.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    This. I shoot bows, which I imagine are similar on this score -- binocular vision is not helpful, and usually makes proper aiming more difficult.

    At distances, depth perception comes more from visual cues than binocular vision. Where having two eyes really helps with depth perception is when you're looking at things close up.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re:

    Are you serious? The Blue Wall of Silence is well established. Just look at the NYPD ticket fixing scandal, and their infinitely worse reaction of protesting in defence of corruption. It might exist without unions but they certainly don't need any help.

     

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  22.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    Probably not stacked, so much as intimidated. 'Here's what the officers in the department were willing to do to a homeless person, simply because they felt like it, now imagine what they'll do to you if you vote 'guilty'...'

     

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  23.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    There is no evidence of any union supporting Cicinelli

    He said "pieces of shit like this cop" not "this cop and other pieces of shit".

     

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