Society

6 Fullerton Cops on Leave in Kelly Thomas 'Beating Death' Investigation

| by Alex Groberman

Six Fullerton, Calif. police offers were placed on involuntary administrative leave as a result of their involvement in the death of a homeless man who sustained catostrophic injuries during a July 5 arrest, authorities reported on Wednesday.

The move comes on the heels of the FBI and Orange County District Attorney announcing that they will investigate the events leading up to Kelly Thomas’ death.

"They're pretty much homebound," police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Goodrich told CNN on Wednesday.

"Any sort of termination, suspension or exoneration for the matter will occur at the end of the investigation," Goodrich said.

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The Fullerton police have classified the incident as an "in-custody death," Goodrich added.

On July 5 at approximately 8:30 p.m., officers responded to reports that someone was attempting to break into cars near the city bus depot. The responding officers went on to identify the suspect as the 37-year-old Thomas, a homeless man who was known to frequent the area.

During the arrest procedures, an altercation took place between Thomas and the police -- which later required for him to be hospitalized. Five days later Thomas was removed from life support and died.

On Tuesday, Thomas’ father, Ron, angrily lamented about his son’s death to an equally tense group that gathered for a council meeting. Ron went so far as to accuse the police of viciously beating his son.

"I just wonder where my son's rights went as a citizen," Thomas told the council. "Where were his rights? Listen to my son beg those officers, 'Please, please, God, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' And the last words of his life, 'Dad! Dad!' I want you to hear that for the rest of your life like I will."

Spokesman for the FBI’s Los Angeles office, Laura Eimiller, said that the FBI was in the process of investigating whether or not Thomas’ civil rights were violated during the arrest.

Authorities later said that part of the incident was captured on video at a Fullerton bus depot, however, not everything can be seen on the clip.

"There are things that you can see and there's things you can't," Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the Orange County District Attorney's office, told CNN about the video. "Your heart is sad watching what happens in the case."

An official cause of death has not yet been established.