WARNING: Graphic video of assault of Alesia Thomas
LOS ANGELES – The Electronic Urban Report/EUR has learned that the Los Angeles Police Department’s union the Los Angeles Police Protective League has started a campaign to raise money this holiday season for officer Mary O’Callaghan.
O’Callaghan was convicted in June of this year for assault under the color of authority resulting from the 2012 South L.A. arrest of 35-year-old Alesia Thomas. (See video above: warning, it’s graphic)
Addicted to drugs, Thomas had dropped off her 3-year-old and 12-year-old children at a nearby police station in the middle of the night where she expected their grandmother to pick them up.
Officers went to her home to arrest her thinking she had abandoned her children, where things quickly got out of hand.
According to a report, there was a struggle wherein two other officers handcuffed and hogtied Thomas. According to prosecutors, Thomas was “helpless in the back of that police car” and simply trying to sit up so she could breathe when Officer O’Callaghan, frustrated in trying to retie her, threatened to break Thomas’ arm, shoved her on the chest and throat and kicked her in her stomach and then her groin.
Thomas told officers her chest and legs hurt and she needed an ambulance, but Officer O’Callaghan refused to listen. She lost consciousness in the patrol car and was pronounced dead at a hospital. Later, a coroner’s report found that cocaine intoxication likely was a “major factor” in Thomas’ death and listed the cause of death as undetermined.
In June a judge sentenced O’Callaghan to three years in jail with 20 months suspended making her eligible for release January 24, 2016.
First reported on EUR columnist Jasmyne Cannick’s blog, the L.A. police union sent out a text message to officers for a fundraiser for Officer O’Callaghan.
Jasmyne Cannick’s blog:
Now this is the reason why people give police officers the side eye.
Officer O’Callaghan didn’t die in the line of duty, she didn’t retire in lieu of before facing a board of rights to fight some BS trumped up charges–no. She was found guilty of assaulting a woman. A woman who died. And while I sympathize with her to a degree in that she was not the only person who should have been on trial last summer–she was found guilty.
Now mind you this is the same union that scoffs at fundraisers done by the families of gang members shot dead in the street to raise money to bury their loved one. This is also the same union that continues to assassinate the character of a Black man shot and killed by police in South L.A. by telling anyone who will listen that Ezell Ford was a gang member.
Seems to me this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black and an example of why whose who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
But on the other hand, who knows, perhaps it’s GUILT that’s driving the LAPPL to raise money for Officer O’Callaghan. Guilt because they know like she knows and like I know that she wasn’t the only one who should’ve gone down for what happened to Alesia Thomas. Maybe they can spread a little Christmas cheer to Ms. Thomas’ children and share some of that money with her family.
Still, following the revelation of how Chicago officials along with the police department worked to keep the video of the execution of Laquan McDonald under wraps, including going so far as to into a Burger King to allegedly delete footage of the incident–the LAPPL’s fundraiser for ex-officer O’Callaghan probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many.
Officer O’Callaghan was one of several officers involved in the incident with Alesia Thomas, but the only one whose actions were found to violate department policies. While many in the community called for involuntary manslaughter charges to be filed, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey only charged O’Callaghan with assault under the color of authority. None of the other officers were ever charged with a crime. O’Callaghan will be free right after the holidays having served about ten months in jail.
It took Los Angeles three years to release the Alesia Thomas video.