Kelly Thomas' father accuses Orange County D.A. of foot-dragging
The father of a homeless man who died after a struggle involving six Fullerton police officers says he has run out of patience waiting for the Orange County district attorney’s office to finish its investigation of his son’s death.
Ron Thomas has said he wants criminal charges filed against the officers involved in the death of his son, Kelly Thomas.
Until recently, Thomas had expressed confidence in the district attorney’s investigation, but this week, the father accused investigators of dragging their feet; during an appearance on KFI’s “The John & Ken Show,” he declared “war” on Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas’ office.
Thomas has called for his son’s supporters to protest in front of the district attorney’s office in Santa Ana today.
“We must let him know that we will not go away, and that he must do the right thing,” Thomas wrote in an email announcing the protest.
Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia, was confronted at a bus depot in downtown Fullerton by officers responding to a report of an attempted car break-in on July 5.
According to witness accounts, officers beat Kelly and shocked him with a Taser multiple times until he was unconscious. He died five days later after being removed from life support.
The incident has spurred recall efforts against three council members, and the police chief went out on medical leave following calls for the city to fire him.
On Wednesday, Thomas and his attorney released medical records from UC Irvine Medical Center, where Kelly died.
The coroner’s office has not determined a cause of death and is awaiting toxicology and other test results, but the medical records released by Thomas show the immediate cause of death was "brain death" due to "head trauma" from the incident.
According to the records Ron Thomas provided, Kelly Thomas suffered brain injuries, a shattered nose, a smashed cheekbone, broken ribs and severe internal bleeding.
District attorney’s officials have said they are awaiting the coroner’s report before concluding their investigation.
The FBI is also investigating the incident, and the city of Fullerton has hired an outside consultant to review practices in the Police Department. Protesters said their demonstration in front of the district attorney’s office today was scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: Ron Thomas, seated at right, joins attorney Garo Mardirossian at a news conference Wednesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles