L.A. Will Pay $2.5 Million To Family Of Woman Who Died During Arrest
The family of a woman who died during a violent arrest will receive a $2.5 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council decided unanimously yesterday to pay $2.5 million to the family of Alesia Thomas, KPCC reports. Thomas, 35, was arrested on July 22, 2012 after she abandoned her children, ages 3 and 12, at a police station with a note saying she could no longer care for them. Officers responded to her South L.A. home and during her arrest, LAPD Officer Mary O'Callaghan was caught on video threatening, kicking and hitting Thomas as she was handcuffed in the back of the cop car. Thomas complained that she was having trouble breathing, but officers decided she was faking it and ignored her. Thomas became unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
O'Callaghan was convicted of assault under the color of authority and sentenced to three years in jail, though 20 months of the sentence were suspended. She was not charged with Thomas' death, as the coroner's office attributes her death to cocaine use coupled with a heart condition.
In August, the City agreed to pay a $15 million settlement to a teenager who was shot and paralyzed by officers while playing with an Airlift gun.