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Woman Struggles with Police Dies while in Custody

Los Angeles:  A woman under arrest put up a violent struggle as officers were taking her into police custody and during transportation to the police station was found unresponsive in the back seat of the police car.  

On July 22, 2012, around 2 a.m., Southeast Patrol Division Officers received a call to return to the station for an investigation of two children, 3-years-old and 12-years-old, who were found abandoned at the station.

The officer’s investigation led them to the children’s residence in the 9000 block of South Broadway, where they contacted the children’s 35-year-old mother Alesia Thomas.  After interviewing Thomas and completing their preliminary investigation, officers arrested Thomas for Child Endangerment.

As the officers were taking Thomas into custody she began actively resisting arrest, attempting to pull away from the officers.  One officer peformed a leg sweep and took Thomas to the ground to gain control of her.  Two other officers then handcuffed Thomas behind her back.  After the arrival of a police sergeant from Southeast Division the officers walked Thomas to their police vehicle.  Thomas continued to struggle with the officers and another unit was requested for assistance.

Thomas continued to resist the officers attempting to place her in the rear seat of their police vehicle.  To further help in control Thomas’ violent actions the officers placed a hobble restraint device on her ankles and then placed her in a seated position in the back seat of the car.

Within minutes of being placed in the police vehicle, the officers noticed Thomas did not appear to be breathing and immediately called for Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics.  They transported Thomas to a local hospital, but she failed to respond to emergency medical treatment and died a short time later.

LAPD’s Force Investigation Division (FID) Detectives responded and are investigating the in-custody death.
 
The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy which states that an officer’s use-of-force actions must be objectively reasonable.  Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the in-custody death.

Comments

There has to be something wrong with the training police receive - not be able to place a woman in the back seat of a police car without restraining and fighting her to the point of death.

What happened to using stun guns to immobilize those resisting arrest? The coronor may find evidence of concussive head trauma probably caused by the leg sweep, unless the officers are hiding facts about the case. At least the woman dropped the kids off at the police station and didn't neglect them in others ways. There has to be a better way.

Kay A., here are a few questions for you:
1. How much did this woman weigh?
2. Was she under the influence of any drugs, that would cause her to be stronger than usual?
3. Was there a reason why she didn't cooperate with officers?

I am willing to bet you have no answers to these questions, yet, you feel knowledgeable enough to criticize police training.

Go on a ride-along with LAPD officers sometime, and see what's like dealing with suspects resisting arrest.

Kay, don't criticize unless it's something that you have actually done. Getting a suspect, male or female, into a small space like through a car door is extremely difficult when they are struggling. Especially when you are trying to do it in such a manner as to not injure the suspect.

Obviously the actual cause of death won't be known until after the autopsy,however; many of these kinds of deaths are the result of narcotics. When a person has used a central nervous system stimulant (i.e. cocaine, meth, etc) it raises their heart rate to a very high level. Now, throw in an event like a struggle and their heart rate goes so high that their heart fails.

If the person dies then there always has to be a better way. your question mean nothing, all you are trying to do is shift the blame.

There is no blame to be shifted. The blame lies solely on the individual who's actions warrant force being used on them to take them into custody. Fighting with the police isn't going to get you anywhere. Do your fighting in court where it belongs.

It took several officers to control one female? Or did one officer become a little overzealous? A death sentence for the mom who left a 12 year old with a 3 year old? Now they truly do not have a parent. This is sad.

just another kelly thomas incident lucky for the officers there was no cameras around

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