“Today’s not guilty verdict in the criminal trial of Fullerton police officers Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos, who were charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, is disappointing and demonstrates the need for civilian police review boards in Fullerton and elsewhere in Orange County,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.
"In instances where criminal charges are not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but where an officer’s action may still be unacceptable, civilian oversight provides an additional avenue for police accountability to local communities. Civilian review boards can be used to determine whether officers acted or violated department policy, or if stronger guidelines are needed. Moreover, such boards play an important role in strengthening trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."
"We hope that in the wake of this verdict, police departments will move swiftly to ensure that officers are trained in how to responsibly interact with persons suffering from severe mental illness, including the need to de-escalate conflicts and the inappropriateness of Taser use under such circumstances.”
For media inquiries contact: Diana Rubio, 213.977.5252