source: LA Times
published: 15 October 2015
Alesia Thomas was already handcuffed on that July 2012 evening when a veteran police officer hit and kicked the 35-year-old, cursing at Thomas as she shoved her in the back of a squad car in South Los Angeles.
Thomas gasped for air and asked for an ambulance, looking into a patrol car camera with wide eyes. A few minutes later, her head fell backward as she lost consciousness. She died at a hospital.
Two years before a national debate erupted over policing, Thomas’ arrest renewed scrutiny of how Los Angeles police used force during seemingly routine calls and underscored how cameras could help monitor officers. The assault led to a felony conviction and jail time for the officer, Mary O’Callaghan, a rare outcome in cases where police are accused of using excessive force.
On Wednesday, there was yet another consequence of that night: City Council members unanimously agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit with Thomas’ two children.