originally by: The Guardian
published: 6 July 2012
The father of a homeless California man allegedly beaten to death by police officers last year has begun legal action against city authorities. A year to the day since the encounter with six Fullerton police officers that led to Kelly Thomas’s death, his father, Ron Thomas, filed a civil lawsuit in Santa Ana superior court.
The six officers involved in the incident, along with two former Fullerton police chiefs, and the city itself were named as defendants in the suit.
Ron Thomas alleged that a combination of heavy-handed restraint, repeated blows and the use of a Taser resulted in his son’s death.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Thomas, a former Orange County sheriff’s deputy, argued the Fullerton police department suffers from a deep-seated “culture of corruption and deliberate indifference.” He believes his son’s federal and state civil rights were violated.
“There’s an atmosphere around Fullerton with the police department that they can get away with anything they want,” he said.
The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount for damages. Kelly Thomas’s mother Cathy previously reached a $1m settlement with the city and agreed not to pursue any further claims. The deal did not involve her ex-husband, Ron.