Final chapter of Kelly Thomas beating death closes as fired officers abandon appeals

The City of Fullerton was notified through an Orange County Superior Court filing on March 8, 2021 that former officer Joseph Wolfe has abandoned his appeal of his termination. This follows notification on March 5, 2021 that former officer Jay Cicinelli also abandoned his appeal. Both officers were terminated by the City of Fullerton for their role in the July 5, 2011 beating death of Kelly Thomas, a resident with mental health issues experiencing homelessness.

“I am pleased that this ugly chapter in our history is finally behind the City and our residents,” stated Mayor Bruce Whitaker. “The beating death of Kelly Thomas was tragic on its own, with lasting and continued damage, but the costly and lengthy process to uphold the City’s termination of the involved officers took almost 9 years to resolve.”

Based on an outside agency investigation, Wolfe and Cicinelli were terminated on July 6 and July 19, 2012, respectively for their role in the beating death. Both Wolfe and Cicinelli went through administrative review, as allowed under California law, which resulted in a 114 page ruling recommending that the City Council uphold Wolfe’s termination while the 49 page ruling recommended a reversal in Cicinelli’s termination. As allowed under the administrative review, both cases were appealed to the City Council and on February 7, 2017, the City Council upheld the termination of Wolfe and on March 7, 2017 reversed the hearing officer’s recommendation and terminated Cicinelli’s employment.

Both men filed Petitions for Administrative Writs of Mandamus to overturn the City Council decision, eventually leading up to trials on September 8, 2020 and October 16, 2020. On November 10, 2020, the Court denied both petitions and confirmed the City Council’s dismissal. Both men filed appeals which have now been abandoned. That action ceases all proceedings and upholds the City Council’s termination actions.

This article was released by the City of Fullerton.