Claim filed against Fullerton in homeless man's death
An attorney representing the parents of a homeless man who died after an altercation with six Fullerton police officers has filed a claim with the city, signaling their intention to file a civil suit.
The claim alleges that at least six officers “individually and in unison severely beat decedent Kelly Thomas with their fists and with objects and subjected decedent Kelly Thomas to excessive applications of Taser electricity and to numerous forms of excessive and deadly force under circumstances in which Kelly Thomas was subdued and restrained and represented no threat of harm to the Fullerton police officers, causing the death of decedent Kelly Thomas.”
Kelly died five days after a violent altercation with police that began when officers confronted him at the downtown bus depot after receiving a report that someone was trying to break into cars in the adjacent parking lot.
Six officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the case. On Wednesday, Chief Michael Sellers notified the city that he will be taking an indefinite medical leave.
The Orange County district attorney’s office and the FBI are investigating the case. On Friday, the City Council is scheduled to vote at a special meeting on a contract with Michael Gennaco, an independent consultant and chief attorney for the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, to conduct an administrative inquiry into practices at the Police Department.
City Atty. Richard Jones declined to comment on the claim.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: Fliers about Kelly Thomas have been posted around the Fullerton Transportation Center in the hopes of eliciting information about a police beating that is believed to have led to Thomas' death. Credit: Joshua Sudock / Associated Press