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.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.
“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."
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.