FULLERTON (CBS) — Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers has been placed on medical leave in the wake of the death of a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia.

This latest development comes amid allegations that six Fullerton police officers used excessive force against Kelly Thomas, who died last month. The cause of Thomas’ death has not yet been released.

Sellers, who has been the chief of the Fullerton Police Department for more than two years, will continue to be paid.

Officials say Captain Kevin Hamilton, the investigations commander, will be stepping in as acting chief.

hamilton kevin Fullerton Police Chief On Medical Leave In Wake Of Homeless Mans Death

Kevin Hamilton is the new acting chief of the Fullerton Police Department. (credit: Fullerton Police Department)

Last week, two city council members asked Sellers to step down. That was when five officers were put on leave, something many feel should have happened right after the July 5 incident.

Michele Gile, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, spoke with Pat McKinley, who served as Fullerton’s Police Chief for sixteen years.

“It’s very difficult for me, Michele. I really can’t say I have an opinion one way or another. If he’s ill, he’s ill and it’s unfortunate that it happened this way,” McKinley said.

McKinley also tells Gile that a special City Council meeting has been scheduled for Friday.

Comments (10)
  1. sammy111 says:

    Why in the world would he get to go on paid medical leave. If he is in any way for what happened he should be put on unpaid leave until he is cleared or fired. If cleared he should get back pay. If he had nothing to do with it other than being the head of the department why should he be on any kind of leave. Seems like a total waiste of money and it could take some time to clear things up.

    I don’t get it.

  2. Hollywood Reporter says:

    Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers is a coward.

  3. jt says:

    Sounds like he is setting up for the old disability pension scam. A lot of policemen, firemen and prison guards use this scam. It gives them better tax treatment on their pensions (as if the outrageous pensions were not enough). Makes me nauseous.

  4. stanford23 says:

    what a joke, hes working the system to go out stress,because he had no control over his officers

  5. Charlie says:

    Disability leave ? Did he hurt himself by watching the beating video,

  6. Karen says:

    I think you are MEAN SPIRITED people. I think the MEDIA has fanned this into a FRENZY.

    The Police Chief WAS NOT INVOLVED. So why in the world are people asking for his resignation? It is simply RIDICULOUS.

    I realize that there is a dead person. I also realize that the police have a tough job. When there is physical resistance, I want the police to win.

    NONE OF YOU ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACKS POSTING HERE are qualified to know what force is justifiable in this situation.

    I understand the father is upset. Where was the father when this person was living on the street?

    I understand a man is dead. Due process of law is REQUIRED. Let the police investigate and report. THEN you can judge.

    Until then, stop making civilized people cringe that we share citizenship with you.


    1. upyours says:

      Karen, what fail to UNDERSTAND is that you’re an ignorant DUMBF**K. All your statements and questions have been either refuted or answered. If the overpaid incompetent pu$$y moron had retired he would be getting a pension well over $150,000 (he will still), but now along with the other pu$$y a$$wipes involved he’s getting a paid vacation. As you can’t get your head out of your a$$ you need to STFU, DUMBF**K. I cringe knowing you’re a f**king waste of oxygen and life.
      Amazing how the internet works, huh, DUMBF**K.

  7. charlie says:


    in plain terms, if my kid threw a rock and break your window, first thing i would do is make him apologize to you, then i would apologize to you, and offer to pay for the damages, i would then ground him as well, so you won’t see him around your house for the next 6 months.
    what the chief did, was the equivalent to me brushing you off, saying i have a headache when you come to my door to complain, then shutting the door in your face, and go back to the couch and watch TV, after telling my kid to keep playing outside your house.

    get it ??? He did not accept responsibility then, now, and looks like he never will, for the action of his staff. Where does the buck stops in Fullerton ?

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