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Homeless man beaten: Fullerton refuses to release officers' names to L.A. Times

August 16, 2011 | 11:10 am

Fullerton police beating protest
The city of Fullerton denied a public records request by the Los Angeles Times for information relating to the Kelly Thomas case, including surveillance video footage and the names of the officers involved.

The Fullerton Police Department has been at the center of a national controversy over the death of a homeless man with schizophrenia after a violent struggle involving six officers.

Photos: Fullerton residents protest death

Thomas, 37, died five days after  he was beaten and Tasered multiple times by Fullerton officers who confronted him at the downtown bus depot while investigating a report of an attempted car break-in, witnesses said.

Two videos of witnesses at the incident--one from a bystander's cellphone and one from a bus--have been posted on the Internet. One of the videos captured the sounds of a Taser and Thomas' screams of "Dad! Dad! Dad!"

The city and the Orange County District Attorney's office have not publicly released another video taken by a surveillance camera at the bus station or any audio recordings that may have been taken by the officers.

The city also has not released the names of the officers involved.

Six officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while investigations by the district attorney, FBI and the police department's internal affairs division are ongoing.

The city denied requests by The Times for any video and audio recordings of the incident and of the 911 call that brought the officers to the scene, on the grounds they are part of an ongoing investigation.

The request for the officers' names was denied on the grounds it would "result in endangering the safety of the involved officers."


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Photo: A crowd gathers in front of the Fullerton police station Aug. 7 to protest the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man who died after an altercation with several officers. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times