FULLERTON (CBS) — A police security camera may shed light on what happened during the beating of a homeless man by Fullerton police officers, but the Orange County District Attorney’s Office won’t release the video.
Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic man, died after being beaten and tased by Fullerton police officers at the Fullerton Transportation Center during a burglary investigation. Six officers have been put on paid leave, and the District Attorney’s Office and FBI are investigating the incident.
Since the incident on July 5, outrage has grown among Fullerton residents about the brutal beating. Cell phone video camera and eyewitness accounts have only fanned the flames, but the view by a police-controlled security camera may give the best view of what happened that night.
However, the OC District Attorney’s office is withholding that video, calling it evidence in an ongoing investigation.
“We need to make sure if there is a trial, that witnesses testify to what they actually saw at the scene, not what they’ve seen in the video,” District Attorney’s spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder said.
The camera has a bird’s eye view of the Fullerton Transportation Center’s parking lot, about 50 yards from the scene. Trees may obscure part of the view, but Schroeder, who has seen the footage, says that the camera captured part of the incident.