SANTA ANA (AP) — Prosecutors said they’ve received a report on the cause of death for a mentally ill homeless man who died this summer after a violent confrontation with six police officers.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will hold a news conference Wednesday to announce whether his office will file criminal charges against the Fullerton officers. The FBI has also launched a probe to determine if officers violated the civil rights of Kelly Thomas, 37, during the July 5 altercation.

A spokesman for the sheriff-coroner did not return repeated calls Tuesday. The district attorney spokeswoman, Farrah Emami, said no further details about the district attorney’s findings would be released until the news conference.

Officers responding to reports of someone burglarizing cars at a transportation hub in Fullerton got into a violent fight with Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia.

He suffered severe head and neck injuries and was taken off life support on July 10.

Video from a bystander’s cellphone taken from a distance showed parts of the bloody encounter between the officers and Thomas, including a snippet in which he can be heard screaming for his father. Surveillance video aboard a bus showed agitated passengers
saying officers beat and repeatedly used a stun gun on him.

An autopsy initially failed to determine the cause of death pending further tests.

Since the incident, six officers were put on paid administrative leave, the police chief went out on medical leave and the embattled city council hired a law enforcement expert to investigate the police department’s practices.

Incensed community members held weekly demonstrations in Fullerton outside the police headquarters and started an effort to recall the mayor and two councilmembers over the incident.

Thomas’ father, Ron Thomas, filed a claim against the city and two other men came forward with allegations they were also mistreated by Fullerton police. One of them said he had been mistakenly arrested and filed a civil rights lawsuit.

Ron Thomas said he was contacted by the district attorney’s office late Tuesday, but not told what prosecutors had decided.

He has previously released his son’s medical records from the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, which showed Thomas suffered broken bones in his face, choked on his own blood and was repeatedly shocked with two stun guns.

“There’s no relief at all,” he said. “I don’t care really how long it takes as long as it’s the right decision.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (26)
  1. citizen says:

    Stand by for the lowest charges to be filled or none at all. Watch there was no intent to kill . So no murder charges. A slap on the wrist is all these cops are going to get if that. It’s now up to the FEDS to hang the GANG OF SIX. Just like they did in the Rodney King case.

    1. Duh! says:

      And just like in the Rodney King case, if Kelly Thomas did as instructed by police officers he would not have had to be physically subdued and thus put his life in jeopardy.

      Where do you live Citizen? We can have thieves burglarize your home and when the police show up to arrest them, they just have to fight back and the police will let them go.

  2. MadAsHell says:

    “The FBI has also launched a probe to determine if officers violated the civil rights of Kelly Thomas, 37, during the July 5 altercation.” are you kidding? Really? Just how dumb has the u.s. become not to know this was murder! So, yes his civil rights were violated. These officers as have many officers in california have gone way beyond the rights they are given as police officers. Its time to take california back!

  3. Alan H. Tooraen says:

    Why is this sort of brutality regularly doled out by the police? Someday people are going to have enough of it and that will be a bad day to have a uniform and a badge.

    1. pkmd says:

      not all law enforcement officers treat people the way these officers treated this man and yes these officer’s deserve to go to jail for a very long time. Just don’t loop all officers together. That would not be fair to the other 100 of thousand officer’s who are out there doing a job you don’t have the guts to do! These failures put a black eye on public. Just remember officer Henwood who shortly before he was murdered bought a child some cookies at McDonald’s before some idiot thug ambushed him in his patrol car. Not all cops are like these officers in fullerton, but your statement shows the mob mentality of todays public. I guess it’s ok to put a threating statement out there…. if it makes you fell better.

    2. wgaf says:

      Why? Because the majority is made up of puS$y citizens that cower in fear listening to whiny overpaid incompetent aS$wipe cops tell them how dangerous the streets are without them. The puS$ies vote for every tough on crime bill then are too stupid to figure out why there’s no State money for education becoming more stupid. The courts give the aS$wipes a pass everytime because of these puS$y voters. And, the next puS$y thatwants to tell me, “The next time you call a cop blah-blah-blah…,” grow a pair and STFU. There hasn’t been a first time.

      1. Just us 4 all says:

        It is known cops protect cops. one guilty is all guilty.

      2. Dufus says:

        So WGAF, why don’t you post your address and leave your doors unlocked, leave your keys in your car (if you have one) with the engine running, and leave your valuables out on your front porch since you do not believe there is a need for police. It must be safe where you live.

      3. wgaf says:

        I will right after you do. What type of challenge is that dumbf**k puS$Y moron? Did you take your head out of your ass to think that up or was it the fumes? Why don’t we meet or is it the b@lls up your ass that do all the talking, dipsh!t? Obviously voicing that challenge proves you to be a brain dead DUMBF**K, no wonder you need cops for protection, aS$wipe. And, actually, I do leave my car unlocked in the driveway.

  4. uhoh says:

    I have a good feeling that this uniformed gang members will be going to jail and losing their jobs. It’s time to take a stand.

  5. Stubby says:

    Sometimes cops have to use force. The need can arise without warning and they are well trained to react. It’s their job to be physically fit, mentally fit and fully prepared. This guy was out of control, violent and dangerous. Just like Rodney King, he refused to do what the cops ordered him to do. While it is unfortunate that it resulted in his death, he brought it on himself. Our police force needs our support, not criticism for doing their job and protecting the public. This whole investigation is a waste of time and effort. The cops did everything right. When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Anything else is begging for trouble and it is well deserved. This guy learned the hard way but it is a lesson for everyone to see.

    1. duh. says:

      the police went overboard, since when does apprehending someone result in death? Sometimes the police get out of hand themselves. The man could have been restrained by zip ties on his wrists & ankles and taken to the police station. Broken bones & multiple tasers are over the top. The public needs to show control but so do the police

      1. Justsayin says:

        Duh wake up! Multiple tazers were used and it didn’t affect him! Hello something is wrong there. When somebody is that out of control, bad stuff happens. He should not have been resisting when being arrested. The Police have every right to use that force necessary to afffect an arrest! This guy was apparently trained by his BLACK BELT father how to fight and di so against the Police! I’m sorry he is dead but at what point do the Police say enough is enough and get tough on these people they are there to protect us from? If they are found to have intentionally killed him then they should go to jail. However if the guy was high on drugs and combative then they have a right to take him into custody at whatever has to be done to do so!!!

      2. wgaf says:

        From where do you get your info, dipsh!t? And, if puS$ies like you need so much protection, hire your own bodyguards so that taxpayers like me can cut back on supporting whiny overpaid aS$wipe moron cops for the rest of my life.

    2. wgaf says:

      Try growing a pair to go with yor self-proclaimed short issue, puS$y dumbaS$.

    3. MadAsHell says:

      @stubby, umm did someone drop you on your head as a child. There was and never is any good reason to literally kick someones face in .. outnumbered 6 to 1, with his hands out at his sides.. stubby, maybe you should be put in the same position..

    4. John says:

      THE PEOPLE CAN USE FORCE ALSO on the PIGs and the pigs and rich are the few.

    5. kim says:

      he was mentally chalanged and sham on the cops 6 on 1 come on shame on you Stubby if this happened to your family you would sue too get a life.

  6. Marty says:

    If the guy would have gotten on his knees and begged for his life the police would have had no reason to beat him to death.

  7. Jeff says:

    On the 10 pm news on ch. 9 they said that the Fullerton police are preparing for a riot. I’m guessing that they are going to say that the cops did nothing wrong.
    Bad day to be in Fullerton. The people want justice for this murder and are going to take nothing less.

  8. AVjeeper says:

    If Kelly Thomas were a black man the city would burn!
    Put the Police Officers and the Police Chief in jail for MURDER!
    Paid admin leave? Are you kidding? They kill a man and then go on vacation?

  9. ?????? says:

    He deserved what he got!! Afree ticket off the planet..

    Anyways…Who cares?? Not ME

    1. wgaf says:

      Really? Then why did you post, other than to let everyone know you’re a, puS$y dumbf**k moron?

  10. nean2641 says:

    Judging by your comments, you are not familiar with the MEDICAL condition known as schizophrenia. This man was mentally ILL, not a criminal. He operated under delusions of paranoia and persecutory hallucinations. Yes, he ran. Yes, he did not lay down immediately for people he believed meant to kill him, or do him harm. Such is the burden and plight of schizophrenia. Yes, cops do need to use force at times. APPROPRIATE and JUSTIFIED force. Neither of those existed in this situation. Our police force does need “constructive” criticism aside from support. They ARE NOT ABOVE the law either. In fact, they should be held to a higher standard. I’m shocked that you believe they did “everything right”. When an unarmed man, who was MEDICALLY disabled was brutally assaulted and KILLED. There is no excuse for their behavior or lack of control. For that, they need to be held accountable just as a civilian would.

  11. nean2641 says:

    Sorry, that comment was meant for “Stubby”

  12. Jefferson says:

    I read a previous post about a epesekeuohr finding a handgun in a safe. I thought safes were there to keep things SAFE!!? Is housekeeping suppose to clean the inside of safes? I thought when I programmed new numbers, to open and close the safe, in my room, I would be the only one with access to my belongings. This is a concern that I will be bringing up the next time I am in FL. Also, it seems that Disney and the NRA are messing it up for everyone. Why would anyone want to carry a handgun just to leave it in their car. Is it a comfort thing knowing its nearby? If I was a thief, and needed to quickly acquire a handgun, I would make it a point to break into a few cars over at Disney. On the other hand, I have been traveling to Disney for many years. I always notify staff prior to my arrival of my intent to bring my handgun. They tell me everything I need to know to comply with their policies. I have never tried to sneak into a hotel or onto THEIR park property with a handgun. I comply and have fun. I do have to say that I am not impressed at all with their security. I was almost assaulted at the front entrance of the Animal Kingdom by some foreigner who pushed and shoved his way in line to take a picture with a cast member. About four uniformed (very old and out of shape) security guards watched from a distance. After the incident, I was told to report what happened to customer service (if security saw it why did I have to report it). The line for customer service was ridiculous so I just blew off the whole thing. I really don’t feel safe in Disney, but I feel better knowing that every other person is not armed to the teeth (I agree with Troop19). Its just not a good environment for handguns. People these days just don’t think that clearly and make poor decisions.

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