Proving yet again that what happens in the Kelly Thomas family does not necessarily stay in the Kelly Thomas family, the father of the slain homeless man is suing the city of Fullerton.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed by Ron Thomas on the one-year anniversary of his frail, 37-year-old schizophrenic son being beaten to death as six Fullerton police officers hovered over him, seeks unspecified damages.
Ron Thomas' ex-wife, and Kelly Thomas' mother, already received
a $1 million settlement from the city in exchange for pursuing no
further legal action. That settlement had no bearing on what Ron Thomas does, as the couple is long divorced.
The settlement with Cathy Thomas and new complaint by her ex-husband have no influence on the criminal case against suspended Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, who have a continued arraignment hearing scheduled July 13.
The suit names not only the city and those two officers, but four other Fullerton cops who participated in the fatal beating and former police chiefs Patrick McKinley and Michael Sellers.
“The city has a long history of ignoring its officers' abusive practices
and is deliberately indifferent to the violations of constitutional
rights resulting from the city's customs, practices and policies,” according to the complaint.
alleges Kelly Thomas' federal and state civil rights were violated, that he suffered unjustified
assault and battery, that the city and police department were negligent and that police brass were liable for many of the wrongful actions.
Because the incident was captured by audio and video recordings, the case has garnered national attention, driven out police chiefs and Fullerton City Council members and led to widespread changes involving citizen oversight of a police department perceived to be out of control.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.