US investigates death of homeless man in police custody

originally by M&G News
4th August 2011

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating the death of a homeless man who succumbed to severe injures after being arrested in California, a news report said.

Six policemen from Fullerton, 50 kilometres south-east of Los Angeles, have been put on administrative leave in connection with the incident, broadcaster CNN reported late Wednesday. The arrest of Kelly Thomas, 37, on July 5, was captured on film by bystanders and the surveillance camera of a nearby bus stop.

A witness said she saw officers administer five electric shocks to him with a tazer. In the footage, which does not show the full incident, Thomas is seen apparently distressed and shouting for his father.

The police officers arrested Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia, as a suspect after receiving reports of a man trying to break into cars near the Fullerton bus station.

He fell into a coma shortly after his arrest and died five days later in hospital, the report said. The police were treating the case as an in-custody death.

Over 100 residents called for the enquiry late Tuesday at a town council meeting, CNN reported. Ron Thomas, the victim’s father, accused the police of beating his son to death.

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