Former Fullerton Police Chief Sympathizes With Family Of Schizophrenic Man

FULLERTON (CBS) — Pat McKinley, who served as Fullerton police chief for 16 years and currently serves on the city council, is speaking out about the death of Kelly Thomas and allegations that excessive force was used by police.

McKinley urged the public to wait for the completion of the investigation before passing judgement.

The District Attorney’s Office and the FBI are investigating the allegations that the officers severely beat the 37-year-old homeless man on July 5, 2011.

“I do know the officers of the Fullerton Police Department. They’re fine, caring people. They work very hard to keep this community safe,” McKinley said.

But the councilman said that if the officers are found guilty of criminal actions that they should face the same consequences that anyone else would.

“If there are bad officers the system will deal with them,” McKinley said. “And, as any place, I’ve arrested police officers… They come from the human race and every once in a while one will get in or go sideways on us. And it’s our job to find them and deal with them.”

One of the officers under investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office is Jay Cicinelli, a former member of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The officer was shot six times during a traffic stop and lost his left eye. He was not able to return to work in Los Angeles and was offered a job by McKinley on the Fullerton force more than a decade ago.

Cicinelli, along with five other officers, have been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is completed.

“I don’t know if Jay’s involved in this thing — I hope he’s not,” said McKinley, adding, “But, if he is, and if he did something wrong…he’s no different than anyone else.”

The District Attorney’s office said that the investigation will take weeks, maybe months, before it reaches a conclusion. They currently have heard from 80 witnesses and hope to speak to more than one hundred.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landon reports the victim’s father said he’s upset the officers haven’t been arrested.

Friends for Fullerton’s Future obtained this video footage from an OCTA bus that pulled into the Fullerton Transportation Center moments after Thomas was beaten. Several witnesses can be seen and heard describing the attack.

A transcript posted on the website recounts what witnesses said on the bus.

Woman: We watched the whole thing.
Bus Driver: What’s going on?
Woman: The cops are kicking this poor guy over there. All these cops
Bus Driver: What happened?
Woman: I have no idea. I didn’t know what the guy did. They were pulling his hair,
kicking the s*** out of him.
Bus Driver: Really?
Woman: Yeah. And he’s all full of blood.

kellythomas with ron thomas Former Fullerton Police Chief Sympathizes With Family Of Schizophrenic Man

(credit: CBS)

“Am I happy with that? No. Because if you or I were suspected of possibly beating someone to death where would we be today? We’d be behind bars,” Ron Thomas said.

kelly thomas Former Fullerton Police Chief Sympathizes With Family Of Schizophrenic Man

(credit: CBS)

“They’re getting a full paycheck, they’re at work. We wouldn’t be afforded that luxury,” Thomas said.

Thomas says a civil attorney hired by the city has offered him $1 million – presumably, he said, to keep quiet.

The victim’s father reportedly addressed the Fullerton city council Tuesday night to express his outrage.

  • Former Fullerton Police Chief Sympathizes With Family Of Schizophrenic Man | Los Angeles for Me

    […] Former Pat McKinley, who served as Fullerton police chief for 16 years and currently serves on the city council, is speaking out about the death of Kelly Thomas and allegations that excessive force was used by police. More from:… […]

  • sheriff assc

    tells you alot when the city offered money so soon. usually you will have to sue first. i am glad hi dad is in a position to get more attention to this beating. and with all the wittness that saw this….there should be big prison time comeing for every cop there. i hope. cause this time around …there is no need for cameras…many eyes saw this up close.

  • Jeff

    Anytime you are confronted by the cops just get on your knees and pray for your life, otherwise the officer has the right to beat you to death
    Just ask any officer and they will agree with this.

  • Bryan

    Never let the Fullerton police know your a Giants fan.

  • HooDatIS?
  • Wyatt

    If these cowards thought they were in the right, they would personally have addressed the people of Fullerton at City Hall tonight. But they know they are in the wrong. They are scared. These men are not heroes or protectors. They are cowards who will hide from the community yet group together to beat an unarmed 140 lb. man to death. The Mayor should fire the Police Chief immediately and all of the officers involved should be prosecuted and punished appropriately.

    • Mike

      Before you rush to judgement, why dont you let them investigate first. Why is it that people are so quick to think the police did something wrong? Oh, let me guess Wyatt you’re an expert in police tactics right? You should be fired from your job for being a moron.

      • Person

        Seriously? What could the kid have done to deserve this? really? I can’t imagine that the police did anything right in this case. 5 of them killed an unarmed person…..and then bragged about it.

      • upyours

        Right Mike, and you should slap your mama for dropping you out her a$$ without a brain and a set of balls. Then again, you could be a “Michelle.” Lucky for you, a$$wipe cops hired you as their b!tch.

      • Peter

        The city has already said the officers were wrong by offering the family $900K
        to try and avoid a much bigger lawsuit.

      • Gary

        Because he is now DEAD you dumb ass. Since when is an execution at the hands of the police legal????

        And to think, you are allowed to vote!

  • richard

    These cops crossed the line. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. One person vs how many cops….and the cops initial statement was what?? Yeah, they changed their initial statement and now the city is offering money to the father of the guy the cops beat up…just shows that the cities position is not behind the officers. What’s funny is that on youtube there is another fullerton cop using force on another person at a different time. Check it out for yourself ands see. These cops should be fires and prosecuted!!! There is no justification for this….look at the stow beating at dodger stadium. The police wanted these guys asap and wanted charges filed. Now in this case they sure as hell are going totake their sweet time because their PIGS!!! Yup I said it, these officers are just that!!!!!!!!

  • Mike

    Upyours, you are so cool,man I wish I could be like you. On every post you have ever made, all you do is talk like a little punk. We already had this conversation once, and you never showed up. Im sure remember what im talking about right? Ill refresh your memory though San Antinio Hospital. Thats right everyone, I called him out and he was a no show…….Talk about being a little a$$wipe.

    • citizen

      Idiot Mike.

      • Mike

        That means so much coming from you. Maybe you and upyours can kiss before you go to bed tonite.

    • upyours

      Mike, yeah right everyone will do 100+ miles roundtrip to look for a no-show Upland (had to google too that since you don’t even give a city, dipsh!t) pu$$y who won’t leave a phone#, obviously you never grew a pair. Everyone knew you were a pu$$y then and they still do. Crawl back up your mama a$$ since it’s your favorite hiding place.

  • cos

    I’m no expert on police tactics but common sense says that 6 officers trained in these “tactics” should be able to subdue one 140lb man without fatally injuring him.. I suppose they should be the “morons” being fired, along with prosecution to the fullest extent, like any other mob lunch mob would be. My brother is a good officer and its sad the people like these 6 men give others a bad name

  • cos


  • cos

    Lynch* geeze keep auto correcting

  • Maria

    Never had a lot of respect for most Fullerton officers. Suffered my own incident with them a few years ago albeit it was not physically as abusive as this and I worked for another city’s PD at the time! I kept begging for them to call my Sergeant but they would not and kept insisting I was involved in a criminal incident just prior to them stopping me. I had just come off detail at my department, my uniform & badge was on the passenger seat. They refused to acknowledge the two. When they finally let me go, I was warned not to say anything to anyone or complain to their chief. They also gave me a fix it ticket in order to add insult to injury then told me to stay out of their town or else. Do I believe they’re capable of being guilty of using excessive force in the Thomas case? I answer with an emphatic YES! Do I believe they overstepped their boundaries beating this man to a pulp? YES! Mr. Kelly Thomas was known in the area, not a troublemaker and had respect for others around him. Homeless by choice, probably his only crime as Fullerton stipulates you cannot be homeless in their city. He was off his meds and maybe a a bit unruly, yes but that does not give ANYONE carte blanche to beat him to death. In every video I saw, I never once saw 1 officer running up to stop the beating in progress, I only saw every single one running up to join in. So attorney Schwartz says they didn’t use a flashlight as a tool for beating….that can only mean 1 thing….the blood of Mr. Thomas is all on their own bare hands. Shameful actions and I am ashamed of those six who didn’t have one brain working between them all that night.

  • Alarmed

    I’ve read many of the stories about and reactions to the Kelly Thomas murder and think that something more disturbing is taking place. The bigger, more systemic, and disturbing issue is a lack of self restraint, self discipline, and possibly training of some in law enforcement.  While I respect the fact that their duty is to serve and to protect, reactions to situations by some officers often go unchecked and there is a mentality of react first and ask questions later which leads to these types of unfortunate situations.  Fellow officers who speak out are ridiculed or censured. This mentality marginalizes and calls into question their ability of doing what they were sworn to do. My brother is a schizophrenic and I often worry about his safety. It pains and saddens me to learn that out of six trained officers that  not one stepped in to stop a situation that ultimately resulted in Kelly’s death. This situation does not help to affirm any trust by a public they are sworn to protect. This  situation should also be a cautionary warning to law enforcement that wherever you go and whatever you do, we’ll be watching you. 

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