LAPD officer pleads not guilty to felony assault; prosecutors say woman was kicked and later diedBy AP | Last updated: Oct 25, 2013 - 9:49:23 AM
Officer Mary O’Callaghan, 48, was allowed to go free without bail after her arraignment on the felony charge of assault under color of authority, district attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Alesia Thomas, 35, died July 22, 2012, following a struggle with Officer O’Callaghan and several other officers who tried to arrest Ms. Thomas at her home after her children, ages 12 and 3, were left outside a police station at 2 a.m.
The 228-pound Thomas resisted arrest, according to a report by the Police Commission. A dashboard camera in a police cruiser captured Officer O’Callaghan kicking the handcuffed Ms. Thomas in the backseat seven times in the groin, abdomen and upper thigh, prosecutors said.
Judge Shelly Torrealba signed off on a request by the district attorney’s office to keep the video from being released by prosecutors or defense attorneys and prevent tainting a potential jury, Officer O’Callaghan’s attorney Robert Rico said.
An autopsy found Ms. Thomas, a bipolar drug abuser, had cocaine in her system, but the cause of death was listed as undetermined because the struggle couldn’t be excluded as a contributing factor. There were no internal injuries or bruising.
Atty. Rico said Officer O’Callaghan never had a complaint against her upheld during her 18 years on the force and has an exemplary record. She’s been relieved of duty without pay pending an administrative hearing. (AP)