Family of man killed after struggle with Pasadena police demands answers

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a man who died after beating Tased and forcibly restrained by Pasadena police on Friday has hired an attorney, who is saying police used excessive force and is demanding the release of more information on his death.

Attorney Carrie Harper placed the blame for Reginald Thomas' death squarely on Pasadena police.

"Did a Taser kill him? I think Pasadena police piling on him and kicking him killed him," Harper said. "Just because Pasadena police says we used less-lethal force does not mean they did not use excessive force. Hands-on can be just as lethal as a bullet."

Police officials say officers responded to a 911 call that Reginald Thomas had a knife and was under the influence of drugs. They say officers confronted the man, telling him to drop the knife and a fire extinguisher in his hands.

They say he refused and officers Tased him and had to use physical force to restrain him.

They then realized he was having a medical problem and they began to perform CPR on them, and paramedics who later arrived joined in the life-saving efforts, but he died.

The incident has sparked protests in Pasadena, amid of wave of protests across the country over other police-involved deaths.

Harper said police released only a portion of the 911 call in order to bolster their own case, and have not released complete information. She is demanding a thorough investigation.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating and declined comment at this time.
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