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Kelly Thomas: Coroner's report completed; DA to discuss

September 20, 2011 |  5:30 pm

Kelly Thomas autopsy results
The coroner's report in the officer-involved death of a homeless man in Fullerton was handed over Wednesday to the Orange County district attorney's office, but the findings in the controversial death of Kelly Thomas have not been made public.

Dist. Atty. Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced plans hold a news conference Wednesday morning to discuss whether he will file criminal charges against the six officers involved in the incident that led to  Thomas' death.

For weeks, investigators have said they were awaiting the coroner's report before making a decision.

Officials declined to comment on the report's findings. 

Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia who was a regular presence in downtown Fullerton, was injured July 5 during a confrontation with six police officers, who witnesses said beat him until he was unconscious. He died five days later after being removed from life support.

Officials from the district attorney's office have said they were awaiting toxicology and other test results from the coroner before making a decision.

Earlier this month, an attorney representing the Thomas family released hospital records that showed Thomas tested negative for drugs and alcohol and that the immediate cause of death was "brain death" due to "head trauma" from the incident.

The hospital records released showed that he suffered brain injuries, a shattered nose, a smashed cheekbone, broken ribs and severe internal bleeding. Thomas also had been shocked with a stun gun "multiple" times, including in the left chest near the heart, those records showed.

Thomas' father, Ron, has been pushing the district attorney's office to file charges against the officers, and the case has sparked a furious reaction, including weekly protests outside the police station and a recall campaign against three City Council members.

The six officers involved remain on paid administrative leave, and the police chief has been out on medical leave for more than a month.

Ron Thomas said Tuesday evening that he had not seen the coroner's report.


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Photo: Demonstrators outside the Fullerton Police Department protest over the death of Kelly Thomas.

Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times