A former police officer acquitted in the deadly beating of Kelly Thomas is asking for his job back.
Jay Cicinelli and another officer were just found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force for the killing of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas. The decision provoked enough of an outcry as it was—and now Cicinelli wants to be reinstated on the police force, he told the Orange County Register.
“I was wrongfully terminated. How do you argue with a jury of 12 who all agree on the same thing?” he said. “They sat through the whole trial and heard all the facts.”
Cicinelli also cited his training officer, Cpl. Stephen Rubio, who testified that the way Cicinelli dealt with Thomas was in accordance with departmental policy.
Cicinelli was fired in July 2012 after the District Attorney pressed criminal charges for the brutal beating that he, Manuel Ramoz, and another officer, who was not tried, inflicted on a homeless man in July 2011.
Thomas, who was schizophrenic, died of asphyxiation and head injuries at the age of 37 after the officers beat him with batons and struck his face with the butt of a gun. Cicinelli can be heard on the recording of the beating saying he was "smashing [Thomas'] face to hell" as he does so.
Cicinelli will make his case for an arbitrator, and if that doesn’t work, will file a lawsuit. Michael Schwartz, Cicinelli’s attorney for the criminal trial, will represent him.
“His identity of being a human being is totally wrapped up in being a police officer,” Schwartz said.
He described Cicinelli recently helping someone who was choking on a slice of pizza.
“Jay jumped up and Jay was the one with the Heimlich maneuver,” Schwartz said. “He reacts appropriately. He’s a Johnny-on-the-spot to help people.”
“I just have to see where this takes me,” Cicinelli said, who has not worked and has had no income since being fired. “It’s like starting over. … My whole life has been stopped.”
Cicinelli said he understands the anger expressed by Thomas’ father and other opponents to the “not guilty” verdict.
“I understand where he is coming from,” Cicinelli said. “I’m a father.”