Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


DA Says Fullerton Cops Didn't Intentionally Kill Homeless Man

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

Amid cries of objection from the community, the Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Monday he has not seen sufficient evidence yet to validate the claim Fullerton police officers "intentionally" attempted to kill Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man who died several days after sustaining a beating at the hands of the cops.

Rackauckas adds, however, that the OC DA "is still trying to determine whether the officers used excessive force in his death," reports the L.A. Times.

Thomas was confronted the night of July 5th at a bus depot by several officers. Attempts to subdue Thomas were unsuccessful, and a fight escalated into violence. Witnesses say Thomas was struck numerous times and shocked by a stun gun.

Surveillance video gathered after the confrontation finds witnesses attesting that the police officers killed Thomas.

Support for LAist comes from

The beating left Thomas in a coma, however he died a few days later while hospitalized. Thomas' father came forward with details about his son's injuries, noting that "MRI and X-ray results from the hospital that treated his son show he had two forms of severe brain injury: one caused by a lack of oxygen and the other by blunt force trauma." Additionally, numerous bones in Thomas' face had been broken in the confrontation.

The DA has so far not been willing to discuss the possibility of criminal charges for the six officers involved in the beating. Thomas' father, however, considers his son's death a murder.

Several detectives, including those from the FBI, are looking into the case, and yesterday Fullerton's City Manager proposed they bring on "the head of the Los Angeles County sheriff's watchdog body" to act as an independent reviewer of the case and departmental policies.

The six officers involved have been placed on leave, and two Fullerton City Council members have called for the resignation of the Police Chief.