ACLU: DA "Incapable of Fair Investigation" in Thomas Case - NBC Southern California

Coverage of the trial involving two ex-police officers charged in the death of a homeless man

ACLU: DA "Incapable of Fair Investigation" in Thomas Case

The FBI and Orange County DA are investigating the death of a 37-year-old man after an altercation with Fullerton police



    Fullerton police are under investigation after being accused of fatally beating thirty-seven year old Kelly Thomas. Today, his father Ron works tirelessly to help city leaders get a complete explanation of the facts. Ron Thomas talks to Chuck Henry on Nonstop News LA. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011)

    An official with the Orange County District Attorney's office accused the American Civil Liberty Union's executive director of "grandstanding" Friday after the organization issued a statement regarding the Kelly Thomas case.

    Timeline: The Kelly Thomas Case

    Thomas, 37, died five days after he was involved in an altercation July 5 with Fullerton police. The Orange County DA and FBI are investigating, but the ACLU Friday expressed doubt in the DA office's ability to conduct an impartial investigation.

    "We are pleased that the FBI will investigate Thomas' death,'' said  Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. "Although Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas reportedly  has some two dozen investigators working on the case, interviewing up to 100  witnesses, the district attorney has an abysmal track record when it comes to  investigating and prosecuting officer-involved deaths."

    Another Councilman Calls for Fullerton Chief's Resignation

    [LA] Another Councilman Calls for Fullerton Chief's Resignation
    Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker is the second councilmember to call for the police chief to resign following the death of Kelly Thomas.
    (Published Friday, Aug. 5, 2011)

    That prompted a response from Susan Kang Schroeder, the chief of staff for DA Tony Rackauckas. She said the office filed charges in the past, including a case against an Anaheim police officer who  sexually assaulted prostitutes on his beat.

    "The ACLU is incapable of not grandstanding," said Schroeder.

    She said the Attorney General's Office would intervene if county prosecutors were not doing their jobs correctly.

    Thomas' death sparked outrage, which was on display Tuesday at a Fullerton City Council meeting. Thomas's father, Ron Thomas, spoke at the meeting.

    Officers said Thomas struggled as they tried to arrest him at the  Fullerton Transportation Center on suspicion of  possessing stolen goods. The officers had been investigating a report of a man  trying to break into vehicles at the station parking lot.

    The six officers involved in the case are on paid administrative leave.