Chief of Police During Kelly Thomas Beating to Retire

Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers will retire Feb. 18. Sellers went on medical leave following the in-custody death of Thomas.

Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers will officially retire on Feb. 18, City Manager Joe Felz announced Friday.

Last August, Sellers went on medical leave after the in-custody death of transient Kelly Thomas.

Sellers has resolved a worker's compensation claim with the city where he will be paid $127,500, plus $22,500 in legal fees. The city will not be held to any future medical bills.

"Chief Sellers' treating doctor and an independent doctor both said he
was unable to return to work at his job, and the settlement ended any potential
liability for future medical treatment costs, which could be significant," said
William McCormick, the attorney who represented the city in the claim.

After the death of Thomas, who many believed to be the victim of excessive police force, members of the community turned to Facebook — some in support of Sellers and others in favor of his resignation.

Following the death of Thomas at least two city council members called for Sellers to resign.

Two Fullerton police officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, were charged with the beating death of Thomas. Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Cicinelli with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.

Sellers became police chief in May 2009. Capt. Kevin Hamilton, who also plans to retire, took over for Sellers while on his medical leave. Capt. Dan Hughes is currently the acting police chief.

There has been no decision on a permanent replacement for Sellers.

"We will be reviewing our options with the (city) council in the coming
months and will determine the best course for the city in finding a
replacement," Felz said.

— City News Service contributed to this report

Dr. Zillman February 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
"...Compton by the Sea (Seal Beach's) top man man in blue..." Huh?
Edgar February 12, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I am not complaining about the system because it is broken,, I just don’t vote for anyone who is an incumbent office holder anymore. It is exceedingly unmistakable that they have had disastrous consequences by the circumstances of our City, State and Federal Governments inaction. Did you , I or anyone else have a vote on the amount of retirement they dole out to Police, Fireman and Civil Service ? I think all of that was done behind closed doors with the good ol boy syndrome. I believe in fair and equitable retirement, but after 50 years of working I certainly didn’t get a golden handshake that broke the backs of the common tax payer and for generations to come. I don’t vote party lines , I vote for a person who I hope can achieve change that will be in the greatest interest of our community and country. So this guy walks off with the taxpayers money, laughs all the way to the bank and lives the good life, but I guess he has to look in the mirror each morning and say boy did I do a good job, I am so proud of my legacy that I have left behind in the City of Fullerton.
Dr. Zillman February 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM
In this case the City Council and Police Unions are to blame for the pension problems. They have created a powerful internal system of compensation that is completely out of control, and continually angering taxpayers. That he could suddenly leave his command on "medical leave," repeatedly extend it knowing that eventually he could "retire early" at over 200 thousand dollars per year, and half of it tax-free is an outrage.
Dr. Zillman February 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Could anyone with insight shed any light on this little nugget? "Sellers has resolved a worker's compensation claim with the city where he will be paid $127,500, plus $22,500 in legal fees." What could this be for? I can't imagine this "bonus payout" IN ADDITION TO his already rich retirement.
Edgar February 12, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Now tell me that the man in blue isn't a crook that would steal the pennies off the eyes of his dead Mother.......he is looting the coffers, no different that a criminal stealing money from the bank.....this is the sad situation we have to put up with our "men in blue", what a farce we live.................................


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