LAPD Officer Who Assaulted Woman During Arrest Gets Jail Time
An LAPD officer who kicked and hit a woman who died after her arrest has been sentenced to three years in jail, but will most likely only serve a number of months.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta sentenced LAPD Officer Mary O'Callaghan, 50, to three years in jail today, but ruled that the last 20 months of that sentence would be suspended, City News Service reports. O'Callaghan's lawyer, Robert Rico, said due to jail credits, she probably won't even serve that. O'Callaghan has been in jail since June 5 after she was convicted by a jury of one felony count of assault by a public officer.
"As long as she stays out of trouble, which she's done for 50 years, and successfully completes the next four and a half months in county jail, she'll be done," Rico said.
She will most likely lose her job as well, Rico said.
O'Callaghan, an 18-year veteran of the force, was caught on video threatening to "punt" 35-year-old Alesia Thomas in the genitals during an arrest at Thomas' home located on the 9100 block of South Broadway in South L.A. on July 22, 2012. She was also seen jabbing Thomas in the throat and kicking her.
The whole ordeal began when Thomas allegedly left her two children, ages 3 and 12, at a police station with a change of clean clothes and a note that said she could no longer care for them, plus their grandmother's phone number. Officers then responded by going to Thomas' house. During Thomas' arrest, her legs were bound with a nylon restraint and her hands were cuffed behind her back. Thomas complained to officers that she couldn't breathe, but they believed she was faking it and chose to ignore her.
Thomas was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
O'Callaghan was not charged with Thomas' death, but rather assault under color of authority. The L.A. County Coroner said that Thomas' death was caused by cocaine use coupled with a heart condition. Still, prosecutors argued that O'Callaghan's use of force was unreasonable, and that she had only kicked and hit Thomas because she was frustrated with her when she wouldn't stay still, not because Thomas was a threat to her.
At her sentencing today, O'Callaghan apologized to Thomas' mother, Sandra Thomas.
"Mother to mother, I'm extremely sorry for the loss of your daughter. I pray for her every day. I pray for her children," O'Callaghan said.
Thomas asked to give O'Callaghan a hug, but the judge did not allow it.