A parole violator who witnessed Michael Jackson's arrest in Santa Barbara, California, last November (03) is working with police to prove the pop superstar received fair treatment.

Jackson has sparked an investigation because he claimed he was "manhandled" by police after surrendering to them on child molestation charges.

In a TV interview in December (03), Jackson showed bruises on his arm he alleged had been caused by rough police officials.

But VALENTINO ZILIOTTO (corr) is one of 50 witnesses who insist Jackson was treated with the utmost respect.

Ziliotto, who was in jail in Santa Barbara on a parole violation when Jackson was brought in in handcuffs, says, "I saw Mr Jackson with his hands up against the wall. I was standing about 50 feet away from Michael Jackson when he was being patted down. He seemed playful and happy. He was smiling.

"They (police) were being very professional. They did his pat down like they would do anybody else's pat down."

Ziliotto claims Jackson was actually flashing other inmates of the jail the peace sign as they cheered him on.

He adds, "If his arm or shoulder had been hurt he wouldn't have been thrusting the peace sign and waving.

"To me honestly, it (the bruising) looked like a make-up job."

Meanwhile, former Santa Barbara Sheriff Jim Thomas insists, "Our people aren't going to do something that stupid in such a high profile case."

The investigation continues.

09/04/2004 19:40