Kelly Thomas' father: At least two officers should be charged [Updated]
The father of Kelly Thomas said he will not be satisfied with anything less than voluntary manslaughter charges against at least two of the Fullerton police officers involved in the violent confrontation that led to his son's death.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas is scheduled to announce Wednesday at 11 a.m. whether he will file criminal charges against some or all of the six officers involved in the July 5 incident.
Ron Thomas said he wants to see murder charges filed against the officers, but would be satisfied if at least two officers are charged with voluntary manslaughter with malice. However, he said he was not hopeful that would be the outcome.
If none of the officers are charged, or if they are charged with a lesser crime, Thomas said, "It would be exactly what we all suspected of the DA. It follows his reputation that he supports the police no matter what."
The district attorney's office has kept a tight lid on his decision. The office, which has interviewed dozens of witnesses and reviewed surveillance video from the bus depot where the incident occurred, received the coroner's report Tuesday. The report has not been released.
[Updated at 10:13 a.m.: Officials in Santa Ana and Fullerton said they were preparing for the possibility of unruly protests Wednesday after Rackauckas announces his decision whether to file charges.
District attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami said the office has heightened security measures in place but declined to elaborate.
Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said the department has 10 officers assigned to patrol Civic Center Drive every day and will be monitoring the crowd outside to see if more are needed and if the street needs to be blocked to traffic for safety reasons.
"Our understanding is that Mr. [Ron] Thomas has encouraged Kelly's Army to show up," he said, referring to Kelly's father, who has taken a high-profile role in the case, pushing for criminal charges against the officers. "How many people that equates to, we really don't know... If the crowd is large, we'll evaluate and decide if we close the streets or anything like that."]
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: Ron Thomas embraces Susan Wright after she delivered an emotional plea to the Fullerton City Council for better treatment of the mentally ill Sept. 20. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times