A new report has found that the Fullerton Police Department didn’t intend to deceive the public regarding the death of a homeless man named Kelly Thomas. But intent aside, Thomas’ father says he doesn’t believe it for a second.
In July of 2011, Thomas was confronted by police after being accused of breaking into cars. The resulting confrontation left Thomas in a coma from which he would never recover. He died five days after.
The initial response from the department was releasing a two-year old mug shot of Thomas where he appeared disheveled with blood shot eyes. They also reported that the officers who responded to the call suffered from several broken bones.
When it turned out that their bones were not broken, no retraction was made. Furthermore, releasing the years-old photo was unusual, but not against policy.
From the Los Angeles Times:
There is no evidence that Fullerton police deliberately released false or negative information and an unflattering photograph of a mentally ill homeless man who died last year after being beaten by police officers, a police watchdog attorney hired by the city said Tuesday.
The report comes after community leaders and activists accused the beleaguered Police Department of going out of its way to portray Kelly Thomas as a violent street person with a history of run-ins with police before the deadly July 5 confrontation.
Read the full article here.