One year after Kelly Thomas's death allegedly at the hands of police, his father, Frederick Ronald Thomas, is suing the city of Fullerton for damages. In his Orange County, California wrongful death claim, Frederick Ronald Thomas Jr. is alleging civil rights violations, battery, assault, and negligence. The civil lawsuit was announced today.
Kelly Thomas is the 37-year-old Fullerton homeless man suffering from schizophrenia who was beaten by six cops outside a local bus station on July 5, 2011. The officers were there to investigate a "homeless" person who had been seen peering into car windows and pulling car door handles. Kelly was shirtless and had a backpack on when the police encountered him.
The brutal assault caused him to fall into a coma and he died a few days later. A security camera at the depot recorded 16 minutes of the police officers questioning and then striking Kelly.
Also named as defendants in this Fullerton wrongful death lawsuit are police officers Jay Cicinelli, Manuel Ramos, the four other cops who participated in Kelly's beating, and ex-Fullerton police chiefs Michael Sellers and Patrick McKinley. Frederick Thomas, in his complaint, points to what he describes as the city's "long history" of looking the other way when it comes to police "abusive practices" and being "deliberately indifferent" to the constitutional rights violations that occur as a result of Fullerton's "customs, practices, and policies." He is accusing the city and its police department of negligence and blames latter for numerous alleged wrongful actions.
Following Kelly's beating, protests ensued and the police assault captured national attention.
"Many people don't realize that police brutality can be grounds for an Orange County, California personal injury case," said Fullerton excessive use of police force attorney Vincent Howard. "Even if police are apprehending you they have no right to ever use unnecessary force on you or violate your civil rights or your person."
Frederick Thomas's Fullerton wrongful death case is unrelated to the claim settled by Kelly's mom Cathy Thomas, who agreed to have the city pay her $1 million, thereby releasing it and Fullerton police from potential future claims. Frederick and Cathy are divorced.
"For some people, settling may be the best way to proceed, while for others going to court is the way to bring about the desired outcome," said Orange County, Ca. wrongful death lawyer Vincent Howard. "No two cases are alike, and you will want to work with an experienced Fullerton personal injury law firm that can help you figure this out so that you can make the decision that is ultimately in your best interests."
The civil cases are also separate from the criminal proceedings related to Kelly's beating.
Father of homeless man beaten to death sues police in California, CNN, July 5, 2012
Kelly Thomas suit cites Fullerton police 'culture of corruption', CNN, July 6, 2012
More Blog Posts:
Kelly Thomas' Mom Agrees to $1M Orange County, California Wrongful Death Settlement from the City of Fullerton Over Fatal Police Beating, California Injury Lawyers, May 16, 2012
$20M California Personal Injury Claim Filed After UCSD Student is Left Handcuffed with No Food or Water for Five Days in a DEA Detention Cell, California Injury Lawyers, May 3, 2012
US Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal to Protect Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca From Inmate's Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Gang Stabbing in Jail, California Injury Lawyers, April 30, 2012