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Fullerton Police Chief Sellers on Leave with Enraged City Over Thomas Beating

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

It's the second-best reason this month for leaving a position that involves the city or city government: Fullerton police chief Michael Sellers leaves the law enforcement agency--but only temporarily while on medical leave. Supposedly his doctor told him to do it.
It was just last week that the 'winner' of a reason for leaving a position arrived in first position: in early August 2011, L.A. Commissioner Albert Abrams blamed downloading kiddie porn on a split personality and tumor on his spine.
Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers has left his position with the Fullerton P.D. -- at least temporarily. A temporary leave may console some of the angry mob that wants the police chief booted permanently from its city. Police Chief Michael Sellers has apparently taken a medical leave from his position -- while city residents call for the law enforcement man's resignation.
It could be kind of stressful: Six of Chief Michael Sellers' police officers are currently being investigated for their role in the allegedly brutal Fullerton police officer beating that resulted in the death of homeless man Kelly Thomas. There are reportedly more than 100 witnesses in the beating that is being dubbed murder by many.
Maybe the police chief isn't feeling so well. Chief Sellers has been facing mounting pressure over questions about the night of July 5 -- when Fullerton police officers are accused of putting 37-year-old Kelly Thomas into a coma, the man dying days later. The photographs of the alleged police beating are so horrific that Thomas' own father -- a former law enforcement man himself -- says he first thought the injuries to his son had been caused by a bat.
It wasn't a bat, but it was something just as hard -- according to witnesses who say Thomas' head was smashed into a curb by police officers. And maybe a police baton or two was involved. That part is still unknown, but something very hard obviously met Thomas' face in a repeated and brutal fashion. The homeless man is barely recognizable in hospital photographs of the most vicious injuries imaginable. If the Bryan Stowe beating at Dodgers stadium is horrific -- with LAPD prosecuting suspects Sanchez and Norwood -- the Kelly Thomas beating by officers puts even that level of violence to shame. Six officers allegedly fought Kelly Thomas and Tasered him five to six times according to witnesses. Thomas died five days later, removed from life support.
Those six Fullerton police officers didn't get fired. They may not be working--since placed on leave, but that would be a paid administrative leave. Yeah, the cops accused of murdering a man who witnesses say didn't attack are all getting their regular paychecks.
Fullerton city council members have been calling for Chief Sellers to resign after his consistent refusal to provide an iota of information about how Kelly Thomas died. Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz informed City Council members August 10, 2011, that Sellers is apparently now taking a medical leave of absence -- meaning Capt Kevin Hamilton will take over command of the Fullerton Police department. That may also mean it's a lot harder to fire someone who's not technically working at the time, while on medical leave.
Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz claims Michael Sellers doctor is the one who placed the police chief on medical leave. And that leave appears to be pretty open-ended: No one seems to know when Sellers plans to return or how long the chief will be absent. One thing is known: Much of Fullerton wants the chief's absence to be permanent.
There's that theory--that sometimes things are better left unsaid. Like stupid statements. The Fullerton city manager says: "We wish Chief Sellers well...and we appreciate his efforts on behalf of the city." As to who that 'we' part refers to remains a little unclear. Fullerton residents seem to be resenting those "efforts" -- or lack thereof.


Fullerton, CA
United States
33° 52' 13.0512" N, 117° 55' 31.2168" W
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