Mother speaks out in death of arrested woman


A troubled mother of two, she died after a violent confrontation with arresting officers. Did they cause her death? Sandra Thomas, mother of Alesia Thomas, says she has waited too long for answers.

"I have tried to wave it out of my mind, but I can't," said Sandra. "I go to sleep and I think of her and it is horrible because I know they really inflicted a lot of pain on my daughter."

Attorneys for Thomas are demanding evidence from the city of Los Angeles. In a court petition they allege that dashboard-camera video will show Alesia Thomas was handcuffed and placed in a hobble restraint, and that an officer threatened to kick her in the genitals and then actually did. Moments later she was unconscious and could not be revived.

"There is dash-cam video of the event, we do know that. Because we do know that the coroner's office was given the opportunity to look at at least portions of the dash-cam video," said Steve Effres, attorney for the Thomas family.

It was five months ago Alesia left her two children at the LAPD Southeast station with a note. According to police officials, she wrote that she was a drug addict and that she could not take care of the children. Officers went to her apartment and in trying to arrest her, witnesses say, she became combative.

Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said: "I am following all aspects of this case very closely. It was a tragic situation, but I will not make any judgments about the case until the investigation is complete."

LAPD says it must follow a process. It has a use-of-force review board that is examining the case. The inspector general is also monitoring it.

Sandra Thomas says her daughter was struggling with a mental condition and felt desperate that day.

"She was really suffering depression from the loss of her dad," said Sandra. "So she was real sick when she took the kids."

The coroner is still awaiting test results to determine a cause of death.

Meantime, the five officers involved are assigned to desk duty. The pending investigation will determine whether any should face criminal prosecution.

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