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Two Fullerton officers to be put on leave without pay

The two veteran police officers charged in the July death of a homeless man in Fullerton will be placed on leave without pay effective Oct. 8, Fullerton officials said Thursday after a closed-door meeting.

Officer Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli have been on paid administrative leave since early August, along with the other four officers involved in the July 5 incident that authorities say led to Kelly Thomas’ death.

Last week, the Orange County district attorney’s office charged Ramos with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Cicinelli with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

“The intent to change their pay status was made after consulting with our city attorneys regarding law that is relevant to this area,” acting Police Chief Kevin Hamilton said in a statement.

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The officers have until Oct. 7 to appeal. City spokeswoman Sylvia Palmer said the appeals process would begin with the chief and then go to the city manager, an independent arbitrator and finally the City Council.

The other four officers will remain on paid leave, pending completion of a city-commissioned independent investigation by consultant Michael Gennaco, and an ongoing investigation by the FBI’s civil rights division.

Ramos was released from jail early Thursday after friends and family guaranteed his $1-million bail, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino. Cicinelli had already posted his $25,000 bail.

The Fullerton Police Officers Assn. released a statement denying that it had contributed money or coordinated fundraising to help Ramos make bail.

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A fundraising appeal from someone who identified himself as a Fullerton police officer was posted Wednesday on the page of a Facebook community for police officers called Big City Cops.

Fullerton Police Department spokesman Andrew Goodrich said he could not confirm the authenticity of the message, since it was not a department action.

abby.sewell@latimes.com


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