L.A. African American leader and author Earl Ofari Hutchinson disputed the LAPD's backgrounding of Alesia Thomas, the 35-year-old who died in custody after she was allegedly stomped in the groin by a cop.
The department said last week that on the night she was arrested she had abandoned her two children at a police station and was combative when officers went to speak to her.
According to Hutchinson:
After meeting with Thomas' mother and grandmother yesterday he said the cops' version wasn't the whole story.
His organization, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, states:
… Family members vehemently dispute the depiction of Alesia as a drug addicted, unfit mother. They revealed many new facts about Alesia's background, education, work experience, and her relations with her children.
To be fair, we don't ever recall the police calling Thomas a drug addict. And her own mother did tell CBS Los Angeles / KCAL that she was prone to depression.
However, Hutchinson is one of L.A.'s more credible leaders, and his alliance with the family can't be good for the LAPD.
Thomas allegedly abandoned her 12-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter at the LAPD's Southeast Division station early on July 22, prompting officers to contact her at her South L.A. apartment.
While handcuffed and in custody, she was allegedly stomped in the groin. At least one officer called her a “fat ass,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Because she allegedly struggled with officers, Thomas had her ankles restrained. She stopped breathing in the back of a patrol car, was taken to a hospital and was soon pronounced dead, according to the LAPD.
Apparently after in-car video of the situation came to their attention, LAPD brass initiated internal and criminal investigations and put five officers at that scene, including a supervisor, on desk or home duty.
The case was announced to the public by the LAPD on Thursday, just before the holiday weekend.
The department was dealing with two other recent “use-of-force” incidents caught on tape, including the take down of a skateboarder in Venice and the slamming of a handcuffed woman in the Tujunga area.
The Urban Roundtable states that Thomas' family “demanded punishment for the officers involved in Alesia's death.”
Hutchinson wants a meeting with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.