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Orange County Bar Association

Fullerton Police Kill Homeless Man in Botched Arrest

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

Tensions remain as the District Attorney’s Office of Orange County deal with the incident of a homeless man being beaten by Fullerton Police. The details given by the Los Angeles Times, explain that police were responding to a possible car break-in. Police arrive and approached Kelly Thomas, a homeless man that regularly spends his time in the area. Officers searched his backpack and noticed there were items that did not belong to Thomas. The man tried to run from police and they called for backup. Eventually the officers got him on his stomach. Six officers were involved in the arrest, Thomas was tazed and witnesses explain that he was kicked, and hit on the head. Videos were taken from witnesses who were nearby boarding a bus. By the time Thomas was taken to the hospital he was in bad condition: his face was severely swollen with cuts, bruises and he was in a coma. After five days he was taken off of life support. Footage from a camera inside a public transportation bus, show people commenting on the incident. There are reports that there are more videos taken by witnesses but the D.A.’s Office is reluctant to make them public. The department wants to limit the potential impact it could have on possible jurors if the videos go public. Thomas was 37 years old and had schizophrenia.

The Officers could be charged with manslaughter or even murder if the warranted by the facts. Unusual for a case of this nature is the number of witnesses who seemingly without exception found the conduct of the police to be extreme and unnecessary. See Penal Code Sections 187 and 193.

Here is a video provided by VoiceofOC:

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