With his glaring glass eye and imposing presence, Fullerton Police Officer Jay Cicinelli walked up to Kelly Thomas after he had already been savagely beaten and dropped his knee on him.
The one-eyed police supervisor then began striking the mentally ill homeless man repeatedly with the butt of his Taser, concentrating on a front portion of Thomas’s face.
Witnesses say he did this with the cold precision of a surgeon.
That’s the story that was pieced together by citizen journalist George Hemminger in the above video after he spoke to numerous people who witnessed the July 5 police beating of the 37-year-old drifter.
Hemminger’s reenactment of the incident begins at 4:25 in the video.
“He proceeded similar to what a construction worker would proceed with hammering a hammer,” Hemminger demonstrated in the video.
“It’s very precisioned, very skillful, like he was trying to do damage to a certain part of the face.”
And that report coincides with the allegations made by an anonymous Fullerton police insider on a local radio show last week, who was describing what he had seen on the surveillance video footage.
The anonymous caller said Cicinelli’s blows were so hard, blood came gushing out all over the arms of one of the officers trying to handcuff Thomas.
The caller also claimed that Cicinelli later bragged about his exploits in the police locker room, which turned several officers off, including some who were already unhappy with his “heavy-handed” tactics.
Officials have confirmed Cicinelli was involved in the incident but have offered no other details.
Stonewalling The Truth
Meanwhile, investigators are sitting on a city surveillance video and at least two confiscated citizen videos that would show the world what took place that night.
The district attorney’s office said they’re not releasing the video because it could taint witness testimony, but they’ve already interviewed almost 100 witnesses, so there is little chance of that happening.
And the coroner’s office said they won’t confirm how he died until they do toxicology tests – which could take up to six months – even though a picture of Thomas after the incident clearly shows he was beaten to death.
And the police chief has refused to take on a public face in this case, channeling all his statements through his public information officer. He also allegedly allowed the officers to review the surveillance video while filing their reports. So much for tainted witnesses.
And as they continue to stonewall this case, the public is becoming increasingly restless, protesting by the hundreds at city hall and in front of the police department and demanding the resignation of the chief as well as the release of the surveillance video.
And several citizens have taken on the role of the media – and doing a damn good job of it – considering the mainstream media hasn’t made much of an effort to expose the truth.
In fact, the Associated Press and Orange County Register continue to refer to the incident as a “fight” between Thomas and the officers when there is no indication he even took a swing at the officers.
Two Fullerton City Council members are also demanding the resignation of Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers, who waited a month before placing the cops on paid administrative leave as is customary during police homicide investigations.
Sellers had reassigned Cicinelli to the undercover gang unit before public pressure forced him to place Cicinelli on paid leave.
While it’s obvious the department is in dire need of new leadership, it is actually rotten from the core, according to many local critics.
From what we can gather, the Kelly Thomas incident began as a routine case of police abuse and torture that went completely overboard once Cicinelli pulled up to the scene.
Many locals say the initial complaint about a man breaking into cars came from The Slide Bar, a restaurant and bar whose parking lot is next to the bus depot.
And they believe there was nobody breaking into cars; that the call was simply a way of getting cops to clear the homeless people who tend to congregate in that area.
One commenter to the Fullerton’s Future blog said the city’s cops even have a special room at the Slide Bar where they can drink while on duty.
In his reenactment, Hemminger explained that Thomas was wandering around the bus depot looking for cigarette butts as he had done so many times before when police confronted him.
The witnesses say they did not see Thomas breaking into cars before he was approached by a group of cops that night.
The cops then sat Thomas down on a curb and began questioning him.
At one point, Thomas became frightened and hopped up, taking on a fighting stance (he weighed anywhere between 135 to 160 pounds).
That was when police pounced on him, punching him repeatedly and dragging him across the street where they continued to beat and tase him as Thomas called out for his father, a retired Orange County sheriff’s deputy.
Then Cicinelli arrived and applied the final touch.
“Very Scary Individual”
Cicinelli was described to Hemminger as a “very scary individual” by other homeless people in that area.
One homeless man compared Cicinelli to “a character in Moby Dick that had a vengeance” – most likely Captain Ahab who was hell bent on destroying the whale.
When Cicinelli “stood his ground on activities in the area, it just brought the fear of God” into the homeless man, according to Hemminger.
It still hasn’t been determined whether Cicinelli always had this mean streak or did it come after he was blinded in a 1996 shooting at the age of 26, just three weeks out of the police academy.
The man who shot him several times ended up sentenced to life in prison but Cicinelli ended up with his life-long dream of being a police officer shattered.
This is what Cicinelli’s mom told the shooter after his sentencing.
“You have taken Jay’s eye, his face is disfigured, you have damaged his arms, his legs and his stomach, his job is gone and his dream of being a police officer is gone.”
Cicinelli attempted to get keep his job at the LAPD, but got turned down because of his injuries. He ended up receiving a disability pension that will pay him 70 percent of his LAPD salary for the rest of his life.
Despite his disabilities, the Fullerton Police Department ended up hiring Cicinelli a few years later, allowing him to double-dip at the taxpayers’ expense.
But now it appears he has worn out his welcome.