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Fullerton police altercation death protested by hundreds

August 6, 2011 | 12:20 pm

Several hundred protesters descended on the Fullerton Police Department on Saturday morning, the latest in a series of public expressions of outrage over the death of a homeless man after an altercation with six police officers.

The death of Kelly Thomas, 37, has led two City Council members to call for the resignation of Police Chief Michael Sellers and a group of residents led by blogger Tony Bushala to launch a recall campaign against the other three council members.

The crowd stretched across the intersection of Highland and Commonwealth avenues chanting "Justice for Kelly! Jail killer cops!" as passing cars honked in support.

The protesters represented a seemingly unlikely alliance of groups across the political spectrum, from the far-left A.N.S.W.E.R. to the libertarian group Campaign for Liberty.

Members of Thomas' family who were present expressed their appreciation for the support. Kelly's father, Ron Thomas, a retired sheriff's deputy, said he expects to file a civil suit over his son's death in the near future. He has called for the chief to resign and all six officers to go to prison and, in at least one case, to receive the death penalty.

Officers closed off the block of Highland adjacent to the station to traffic but were otherwise not a visible presence.

Protesters estimated the crowd size at 400. Police did not have an estimate.


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Photo: Cathy Thomas, left, mother of Kelly Thomas, holds a sign during a protest in Fullerton. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Associated Press