Vallejo wants to fire police lieutenant

The city of Vallejo wants to fire a controversial police lieutenant who serves as president of the police union, KTVU has learned.

The city sent Lt. Michael Nichelini a letter informing him that it intends to fire him, sources said. 

Michael Rains, Nichelini's attorney, confirmed that his client had received the letter but said he didn't know what grounds the city was using to pursue any termination.

But Rains said, "There is no legally justifiable basis to fire him."

Nichelini has been criticized for his role in the destruction of a windshield through which an officer shot and killed Sean Monterrosa in June. Rains said he did not believe the proposed termination had anything to do with the windshield issue.

The lieutenant has also been accused by civil rights attorney Melissa Nold of threatening her physically and through social media. Nold has sued Vallejo numerous times.

Most recently, Nichelini was also blasted for sending an email to Otis R. Taylor Jr., who recently left his job as a columnist San Francisco Chronicle and will soon become an investigative reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The e-mail read, "Looks like 2021 will be a little bit better not having your biased and uniformed (sic) articles printed in the newspaper that only inflame the have never looked for the truth in any of your writings. We will warn our Georgia colleagues of your impending arrival."

Rains said the e-mail was not meant to be a threat and that Nichelini was only venting his frustration at the tenor of Taylor's columns about the Vallejo police.