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Alesia Thomas It’s been five months since 35-year-old Alesia Thomas died in police custody last July and her family is still at a loss for answers. Thomas, who struggled with drug addiction, died in the back of a police car after having her hands and feet bound by officers.

The incident was captured on an officer’s dash-cam, but Thomas’ family has yet to see the tape. They fear LAPD officials are attempting to hide evidence.

Thomas’ family is suing the city to gain access to the video they hope will give more information about how she died.

“We have the right to see how they treated my daughter,” Sandra Thomas told MSNBC news. “And I believe someone is hiding something from us.”

The tragic incident began after Thomas dropped her children, 12 and 3, off at a local police station and said she was a drug addict who was could not properly care for them. When police went to Thomas’ home to arrest her for child endangerment, a tense confrontation ensued that left her dead.

MSNBC gives more details:

Earlier public statements from the police described the confrontation between Thomas and a least five police officers in violent and dramatic terms. Just hours before Thomas’ encounter with police, she reportedly dropped off her two children, 12 and 3, at a South Los Angeles police station, saying later that she was a drug addict and struggling to support her family. Officers later tracked down the distraught mother at her home, where police arrested her on Child Endangerment charges.

As officers attempted to take Thomas into custody, they said she began “violently” resisting arrest. One officer then took her down with a “leg sweep.” At some point during the struggle, according to eye-witness reports, officers yelled out profanities and disparaging comments about the woman’s weight.

One female officer then threatened to kick the woman in the genitals if she didn’t calm down and comply, a threat the officer then carried out. Thomas continued to resist, police say, so officers placed her in a “hobble restraint device,” essentially hog-tying her by securing her ankles to her handcuffed hands.

Within minutes Thomas was dead in the backseat of a police cruiser.

Despite admitting that the dash-cam video “revealed some questionable tactics and improper comments,” LAPD officials told the Los Angeles Times they will not release the video until their investigation is complete. But for Thomas’ family, that isn’t enough.

Benjamin Crump, a Thomas family attorney and an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, told MSNBC.com: “It’s really straightforward and clear. How long before they release this video? What is it they don’t want us to see? That’s the simple crux of the matter here. If this was your family and you lost a loved one in police custody and they tell you they have a video but they don’t want to show it to you, that’s insult to injury.”

According to the LAPD they are taking this investigation seriously and will pursue the appropriate action against the officers involved if necessary, but Thomas’ family wants to judge for themselves. They hope the video detailing Alesia’s final minutes will help them find out what really happened that day.

 

*Photo via The L.A. Times

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  • Val

    “if you are a black female avoid any contact w// police officials in Los Angeles”

    So sad but so true. Mitrice was a perfect example of this.

    • Chillyroad

      I have to disagree. I’m from LA. At their worst the LAPD are lazy but like most people, do their jobs professionally. I always donated to their K-9 unit when they called.

    • Val

      *Wondering if Chillyroad is White?*

    • Kenzy

      I am from LA too and I think Mitrice and Alesia from their graves would disagree with you that it was not detrimental to their well being by NOT AVOIDING contact with LAPD or LA County Sheriffs …furthermore as a black female myself I shudder to think of coming into contact with law officers at all let alone being pulled over for some road infraction or going to the police for help and end up dead.

    • ChillyRoad

      @Val

      Low blow, sis. Low blow.

      @Kenzy

      The police do more good than harm. As I said, you will find lazy, incompetant, and perhaps even murderous people in every profession. Still the vast majority are well intentioned.

  • Zeke Filchmuth

    And yet, the lesson is STILL lost on you folks….DON’T RESIST!

  • Why don’t you chill snake. You are all for the police gangs because you have someone working with them. It may be you bitc……No matter what you comment you seem to take up for your loved ones, and that’s who they are. When you turn comes around. it will be a different taste in your mouth. Chill until you day comes.

  • Comments coming from Sandy Smart are totally directed to Chillyroad asshole. LAPD kiss ass.

  • In fact you can go head up with me if you feel healthy enough, chillroad, Which road on your off day would you like to take part in the exercise. I will wip you shit. But not like scary cop in uniform. Let one of them take that shit off and fight off duty, the scary basterd. And by the way anybody can double team on a prospect.