Above the Law

LAPD's Alesia Thomas Beating Video Demanded By Attorney Benjamin Crump

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Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

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Following her horrific death, an attorney representing the family of Alesia Thomas wants the LAPD to release its video of the woman's confrontation with cops last summer.

Thomas died in custody following a kick to her genitals and a leg sweep at the hands of officers, the department admits. At least some of it was caught on police video.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crunch wants that tape. In fact, he's asking for federal help:

Crump has given the department 10 days to turn over the tape or face him in federal court, according to journalist Chuck Philips. (See more on Philips here).

The attorney has already asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation into the incident, which wouldn't be good since a Rampart-scandal-era federal consent decree overseeing how the department polices minorities was only lifted in 2009.

According to Philips' website today:

Crump issued an ultimatum this morning, putting [LAPD Chief Charlie] Beck on notice that his department has 10 days left to turn over the tape before the family petitions a federal court to force the LAPD to meet its obligation. Crump has already contacted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for a federal probe into LAPD misconduct.

Thomas was confronted at her South L.A. home by cops July 22 after she abandoned her two children, ages 3 and 12, at a police station, apparently saying she could no longer care for them.

Police say "she began actively resisting arrest" and was ultimately taken down, restrained at her hands and feet, and put in the back of a patrol car, where she stopped breathing. Sometime in between an officer had stomped her groin era, police admitted.

Though at least some of the incident was caught on tape (Philips says " ... every second of the altercation was captured on videotape"), the public has yet to see it -- or a coroner's toxicology report, for that matter.

Five cops at the scene, including a supervisor, were taken off field duty while the department investigates the matter.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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