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ACLU: Orange County DA Has ‘Abysmal’ Record Of Investigating Police-Involved Deaths

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A flyer posted following the alleged assault of Kelly Thomas. (credit: CBS)

A flyer posted following the alleged assault of Kelly Thomas. (credit: CBS)

SANTA ANA (CBS/AP) — A civil rights group says the Orange County district attorney’s office shouldn’t be investigating the police-involved death of a mentally ill homeless man.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California says the DA’s office has an “abysmal” record when it comes to investigating and prosecuting officer-involved deaths. Executive Director Hector Villagra says some other government agency should look into last month’s death of Kelly Thomas following an altercation with Fullerton police.

Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic man, was beaten and tased by Fullerton police officers answering a burglary report. He died following the July 5 altercation.

District attorney’s chief of staff Susan Kang Schroeder tells the Orange County Register that the DA has a long track record of prosecuting law enforcement personnel for crimes.

Six Fullerton police officers are on leave while both the DA and the FBI investigate the death.

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(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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