A jury found a Los Angeles police officer guilty of felony assault for kicking and beating a handcuffed mother of two who died following the assault, reported Al Jazeera America. Considering how rare it is that violent police officers are convicted of their crimes, this is a rare occurrence.
“I am please that the jury agreed with our assessment of evidence in this case,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “The verdict proves the criminal justice system works.”
In 2012, Officer Mary O’Callaghan and other officers arrived at the victim’s, Alesia Thomas, home to arrest her. According to video evidence, O’Callaghan repeatedly kicked Thomas, who was handcuffed, in the abdomen, groin, and upper thigh. Thomas lost consciousness and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
O’Callaghan was charged with assault under color of authority to which she pleaded not guilty. She was not charged for Thomas’ death. Because there was cocaine is Thomas’ system, it was difficult to determine what caused Thomas’ death.
An audio recording of the incident revealed Thomas’ last words while being beaten by O’Callaghan.
“If you want to kill me, just kill me,” said Thomas.
“I don’t want to kill you,” responded O’Callaghan. “I just want to transport you.”
It’s difficult to believe that Thomas would have died anyway and that O’Callaghan’s abuse was of no consequence.
“Our family is pleased that the officer was convicted on the charge that was brought by the Los Angeles District Attorney,” said the family of Thomas. “This is another step in the continued struggle to obtain full justice for her [Thomas’] children.”
The officer was convicted, but the charges still seem lenient, as well as the penalty. O’Callaghan was relieved of duty without pay.
While this case is a step in the right direction, the cancer of police violence is widespread and unwavering. Cops kill with impunity while the people are afforded few opportunities for justice.