More than 50 Fullerton residents packed City Hall's chambers Tuesday night to speak against the possible re-employment of a police officer acquitted in the death of Kelly Thomas.
The meeting marked the first time the public addressed the City Council since the Jan. 13 acquittal of former police Officer Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli. In a single day of deliberation, jurors found the defendants not guilty in the 2011 beating death of the 37-year-old mentally ill transient.
At the meeting Tuesday, Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes spoke before the City Council, saying he stands behind his decision to not reinstate Cicinelli.
A day after Cicinelli was acquitted, his attorney, Zachery Lopes, said his client 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 chooses so, would lead to a recommendation to city officials, Lopes said. If city officials deny the request, Cicinelli 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 not only rare, but also difficult to do, Lopes said.
An indictment against a third former officer was dismissed by prosecutors on Jan. 17.
It is unclear if Ramos or Joe Wolfe, a third former officer involved in the case, would try to have their posts back.
Thomas' father, Ron Thomas, also attended the 2 1/2-hour meeting Tuesday and spoke before the City Council.
“I really do appreciate the anger, the travesty of this verdict," Ron Thomas told NBC4. "I just hope that they can get these guys on civil rights violations, at least to do some kind of time."
Thomas said he has met with the FBI and is moving forward with a civil case.
Kelly Thomas died five days after he was confronted in July 2011 by officers outside a Fullerton transit station.
City News Service contributed to this report