A day after being found not guilty of criminal charges levied against him in the Kelly Thomas case, Jay Cicinelli says that he’s going to try to reclaim his job with the Fullerton Police Department.
By LOU PONSI / STAFF WRITER
Published: Jan. 14, 2014 Updated: 9:19 p.m.
A former Fullerton police officer, cleared by a jury in the death of a homeless man, will fight to get his job back with the Fullerton Police Department.
A day after being found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force in the death of Kelly Thomas, Jay Cicinelli told the Orange County Register he wants to return to his former job and will take the legal steps necessary to try to make that happen.
Cicinelli, 41, was fired in July 2012, about a year after his involvement in the July 5, 2011, confrontation between Thomas and police officers at the Fullerton Transportation Center that resulted in Thomas’ death.
Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos, the other former officer found not guilty Monday, were terminated close to 10 months after being criminally charged by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
The former corporal will state his case in front of an arbitrator, who will then make a recommendation to the city on whether to hire him back, he said. A lawsuit is a possible if arbitration is unsuccessful.
City officials have said confidentiality laws forbid them from discussing details of Cicinelli’s employment or whether he left the department because he was fired.
“I was wrongfully terminated. How do you argue with a jury of 12 who all agree on the same thing?” he said. “They sat through the whole trial and heard all the facts.”
He also cited the trial testimony of Fullerton Cpl. Stephen Rubio, his training officer, who testified that Cicinelli’s actions during the struggle with Thomas were within department policy.
If legal channels to get his job back are unsuccessful, Cicinelli is unclear on other options.
“I just have to see where this takes me,” he said. “It’s like starting over. … My whole life has been stopped.”
The husband and father of three also said he understands some of the anger and protesting that have erupted after the verdict.
He also understands the anger expressed by Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas’ father.
“I understand where he is coming from,” Cicinelli said. “I’m a father.”
Cicinelli said he has also received dozens of texts from supporters, including many Fullerton police officers.
“I’ve had so many people … people I don’t even know have stepped up and been so supportive.”
Michael Schwartz, Cicinelli’s attorney for the criminal trial, is also representing him in his fight to become a Fullerton police officer again.
“His identity of being a human being is totally wrapped up in being a police officer,” Schwartz said.
Cicinelli said he has not had received income since being terminated.