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“Don’t Shoot…!” Stories, Truth and the Murderous Oakland Po’Lice Department

Jeremy Miller/Education Not Incarceration

Posted January 27, 2012 Poor Magazine

THE STORIES (as reported in corporate media and “po”lice reports)

On January 29, 2011, at about 8:55AM, Oakland Police Officers responded to the 5500 block of Taft Street to a report of an individual armed with weapons harassing a resident on the block. Responding Officers saw a man later identified as Matthew Cicelski in front of the residence and Cicelski fled on foot. Officers surrounded the block to contain Cicelski. Cicelski forced entry into the home of the individual that called the police armed with what they thought was an Assault Rifle. The residents ran out of the house and advised Officers Cicelski was inside armed. Cicelski appeared on the front porch armed with a replica Assault Weapon pointing it at the Officers. The Officers opened fire on Cicelskiand he was fatally wounded.[1]

A man who was shot and killed by Oakland police officers after he allegedly pointed a replica assault rifle at them in the Rockridge neighborhood was identified Sunday as 39-year-old Matthew Cicelski, an unemployed father of a young son.

Cicelski was shot Saturday after 9:35 a.m. by three officers outside a home at 5552 Taft Ave. between College Avenue and Broadway, police officials said.

They said Cicelski, clad in camouflage clothing, had been acting erratically outside the home, where his ex-girlfriend lives. Two residents of the home called police to report that he was armed with a knife and gun while walking up and down Taft Avenue as if he were “patrolling” the street, said Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan.[2]

Arriving officers reported that the suspect, later identified as Oakland resident Matthew Cicelski, appeared to be armed with an assault rifle when he ran from police and forced his way into a home, Joshi said.

Occupants of the home managed to get out and told police that Cicelski was carrying a gun, Joshi said.

Cicelski subsequently came out of the home and stood on the front porch with what was later determined to be a replica assault rifle aimed at officers outside.

Police opened fire and Cicelski was killed, Joshi said.[3]

Seems pretty basic right? Crazy man allegedly armed and patrolling the streets gunned down by police. Pretty good PR piece for a police department that is under fire for the shooting deaths of Raheim Brown Jr., and Martin “Marty” Flenaugh a week and three days earlier respectively. The phrase ‘too good to be true’ comes to mind. Further investigation (actual investigative journalism) paints a much more disturbing picture.

To begin with, according to witnesses, there was never any fleeing on foot. Cicelski was killed after walking through the front door of 5552 Taft Ave. Secondly no occupant ever reported that he was armed with a knife or that he was a threat to anyone other than himself. Though it is possible that Mr. Cicelski was briefly wandering through the neighborhood prior to entering the residence at 5552 Taft Ave., once there he never left the residence until stepping through the front door which resulted in his death. This is important because it shows a blatant police fabrication. Police were notified originally by neighbors who were concerned about Mathew’s antics outside of the house but arrived after Mathew was already in the house. By then his ex-girlfriend was already on the phone with a 9-11 dispatcher accurately describing the actual state of affairs. No information that they were given corroborates the ‘patrolling’ the street account. The only tie-in there was that part of said 9-11 call was to provide context for neighbors’ anxieties. Likewise no-one ran out of the house. Cicelski’s ex-girlfriend’s housemate walked out of a house that police had staked out, had a gun pulled on her by police, and was ‘escorted outside. Later Cicelski’s ex-girlfriend emerged and upon seeing the tacteam ran inside!

THE TRUTH (as told by the witness and victims):

Mathew Cicelski was formerly a successful businessman and Gulf War veteran. Returning from the marines he had exhibited signs of PTSD but by and large was able to effectively manage his mental health and social interactions. All that changed a few years before his assassination. It began with the death of his best friend. This had a severe emotional impact on Mathew. A short while later the car accident occurred.

On July 20th of 2008 Mathew was the victim of an as yet unsolved felony hit-and-run accident. He was admitted to Sutter Hospital but due to their inability to verify his medical insurance he was released without treatment to the same ex-girlfriend whose house he would be killed at just two and a half year later. She was given a bottle of morphine, instructions, told he might die, and advised to call if he began vomiting up blood but otherwise to make an appointment at Highland for the following Monday (three days later). Mathew did miraculously survive this abject violation of the Hippocratic oath and was eventually admitted into surgery. The injuries were so severe that, among other procedures, a titanium plate was put over his eyebrow to keep his face from falling off his skull. It was immediately obvious that due to the accident Mathew had sustained severe neurological damage. Yet after successful facial reconstruction surgery, of the sort that movie stars receive, Mathew appeared better than ever. Those who were intimate with him got a different picture. Mathew began experiencing temporary spells of extreme mental crisis with sharp mood swings, disassociative thought, and wild behavior. He began to feel profoundly lonely with his condition and relied heavily on his ex-girlfriend for support during these spells. This support was rendered and for awhile Mathew was able to maintain relations and a job. Eventually Mathew’s mental health condition began to deteriorate. He was unable to keep his job which put him in conditions of severe financial strain and the public options for mental health treatment (in particular medication) were of the sort that seemed untenable. They were either too expensive or required documentation that boded to make it very difficult for Mathew ever to resume his career. Mathew did self-medicate a bit but was unable to achieve a regiment that kept him balanced. The spells would occur with increasing severity to the point where his ex-girlfriend had to establish new boundaries. She never, however, stopped helping Mathew or felt that he was an immediate threat to her. Mathew continued to rely on her for comfort to the point of seeming to want to be around her while he was going through a spell for purposes of validation. He was very insecure of his mental health condition and among other things had severe yet apparently prophetic anxiety that police would kill him during an episode. The 29th of January, 2011 was no different.


While it is true that Mathew Cicelski entered the house at 5552 Taft Ave. without permission from the residents there was no malice in his approach. He did not break in to hurt any of the residents. There was no intended robbery or assault and none in fact ever occurred. This is not to say that Mathew was OK at the time. Mathew was in severe mental crisis when he arrived that morning at the house. He went to his ex-girlfriend who was alarmed at his presence and extremely erratic behavior. He was speaking irrationally but was clearly suicidal. The clarity of this presented itself in the bottles of pills that Mathew had lined up on the front porch and begun consuming. This was what instigated her 9-11 call which joined in the chorus of neighborhood emergency calls that would eventually result in Mathew’s death. Her call was intended as a 51-50. Mathew’s ex-girlfriend clearly perceived his suicidal plans and did not feel capable of addressing his situation without assistance. This was no 2 minute 9-11 call. Cicelski’s ex-girlfriend was on the telephone with the 9-11 dispatcher for roughly 45 minutes. During this call a few very important messages were relayed. For one it was made incredibly clear to the dispatcher that Mathew needed mental health assistance. It was also clearly established that the gun he was carrying was a toy and not to shoot. This was reiterated multiple times! It was established that he was present at the house despite a statement relayed to the caller approximately half an hour into the conversation that police were in the neighborhood looking for Mathew!

Eventually the police took position with roughly a dozen officers, guns drawn, outside the front of the residence. Mathew was at the time in the backyard playing with the dog. Around 9:30 in the morning one of the residents of the house (Cicelski’s ex-girlfriend’s housemate) went outside and was immediately and violently detained by the police. Cicelski’s ex was the next to attempt to go through the front door. Mathew was behind her. She opened the door saw the police and immediately ran inside screaming “Don’t Shoot!” She tried to keep Mathew from going outside but fell while she was running from police. Mathew went outside with his toy gun and was immediately shot by two or three officers. Cicelski’s ex-girlfriend was also in the line of fire. Despite the fact that the police claim Mathew was approaching in a threatening manner there is as yet no explanation of the bullets in his back. Upon discerning that they had just shot and killed an unarmed man, police proceeded into the home, injuring Cicelski’s ex-girlfriend in the process, and searched the place top to bottom. Obviously they were looking for anything that could provide them an excuse for their murderous behavior. Apparently their search was fruitless. That day when confronted with the fact that they had previously been informed that the gun was a toy they claimed they did not believe this account. Later their story changed to say that dispatch had not informed them about the toy gun. Only cut and altered versions of the 9-11 tapes have been made available for review thus complicating the process of exposing this police cover-up.

The struggle continues. Though Cicelski’s family is pursuing litigation, they have yet to receive any justice for his death. Beyond this, Cicelski’sex-girlfriend has had her life completely transformed by his assassination. Her childhood home was riddled with bullets and left covered with Mathew’s blood and brains which the police and the city of Oakland neglected to clean up. She has endured retaliatory abuse and threats. Hurled by circumstance into the nightmare world of having to maintain her own mental and physical health while at the same time dealing with Oakland politricks, she has spent the last year trying to piece together her life with very little support.

As the one year anniversary of this police assassination approaches we must resist the heavily media fortified urge to write Mathew Cicelski’s death off as just another Officer-Involved-Shooting. We must call this what it is…a crime against humanity perpetrated by a state sanctioned murderous group known as the OPD. Above all we must demand justice for the victims deceased and living. Justice for Mathew Cicelski! End Po’Lice Terror Now!

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