Cops Defend Actions in Man's Fatal Beating

Parents of homeless man in Fullerton demand more answers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2011 4:51 PM CDT

(Newser) – Six officers involved in the fatal beating of a homeless man in Fullerton, California, have been placed on leave as the FBI and the local DA investigate. An attorney for the officers defended their actions today, saying that 37-year-old Kelly Thomas has been "combative" and "resistant" when officers stopped him on suspicion of breaking into cars, reports the Los Angeles Times. The case has triggered outrage in the community because of witness accounts that police used excessive force. One YouTube video catches the beating from a distance as bystanders complain about the repeated use of a Taser. In another, passengers get on a nearby bus and tell the driver that police "killed him."

At a packed city council hearing last night, Thomas' father, Ron, demanded a thorough investigation, reports MSNBC. "Listen to my son beg those officers, 'Please, please, please God, I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'" he said. "And, then, the last words of his life—'Dad, dad.' I want you to hear that for the rest of your life like I will." Protesters marched outside the police station today with posters showing Thomas' beaten and swollen face in the hospital. He died after five days in a coma. Ron Thomas told AP that his son began showing symptoms of schizophrenia in his 20s.

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