Who Is Cpl. Jay Cicinelli?
by Allen R. Kates, MFAW, BCECR
Fullerton PD Cpl. Jay Cicinelli
Corporal Jay Cicinelli
Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 30, of the Fullerton PD is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force in the July 5, 2011, beating and subsequent death five days later of Kelly Thomas. At the pre-trial hearing, he pled not guilty.
More is known about Cpl. Jay Cicinelli’s background than Ramos’s and what may have led to his brutal encounter with Kelly Thomas.
Cicinelli Shot In 1996
On December 14, 1996, less than three weeks after LAPD Officer Jay Cicinelli graduated from the Police Academy, he stopped a car in South-Central Los Angeles and was shot in the face. While lying on the ground, the perpetrator pumped five more bullets into Cicinelli until he ran out of bullets. Miraculously, Cicinelli survived, although he lost an eye, his face was disfigured, and he sustained damage to his arms, legs and stomach. The perpetrator was captured, tried and sentenced to life in prison, along with an additional 28-year term for other crimes.
Cicinelli thought that his dream to be a police officer was shattered. He had more than ten surgeries to try to repair the damage to his face and body. Afterwards, Cicinelli could not meet the physical demands of the job and was placed on permanent disability.
But he had not lost his dream. A high ranking LAPD officer helped him get a job as a police officer in the Fullerton department. For the next thirteen years, Cicinelli was “well liked and thought of” and had a clean record “in the field,” says his attorney, Michael Schwartz.
Whether it was sensible to put a one-eyed officer on the street is of concern, but not as worrying as whether he had resolved the intense trauma he had experienced.
Does Cicinelli have PTSD?
Did Cicinelli receive psychological counseling? Did he harbor ongoing resentment against people on the street? Had he dealt with the inevitable anger and rage that the unprovoked shooting may have generated? Did he have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
We don’t know, but we can speculate that unresolved trauma and a desire to prove himself after sustaining such disfiguring injuries may have influenced his ability to control himself during the Kelly Thomas beating. Was the vicious beating of Kelly Thomas payback for an unjust world? Perhaps we will find out more during his murder trial.
What Cicinelli Did To Thomas
The pre-trial hearing established through surveillance video and audio recordings of the confrontation that Officer Ramos punched Thomas in the ribs, tackled him and lay on him to hold him down. Cicinelli, who arrived later on the scene, tased Thomas 4 times as he hollered in pain, and struck him in the face 8 times with the Taser unit.
Before he tased and struck Thomas, didn’t he see that the man was in agony and already complying with instructions? Why did he strike the man in the face?
For a description of what a Taser does to a person and how painful it is, please click here.
Update: On January 13, 2014, the police officers charged in the Kelly Thomas death were acquitted of all charges. At the moment, there has been no response from the Justice Department of the federal government.
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