Lawyer: Blunt trauma cause of homeless man's death

AP News
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Posted: Sep 07, 2011 3:26 AM
Lawyer: Blunt trauma cause of homeless man's death

A mentally ill homeless man who died after a violent confrontation with Fullerton police officers that was captured on videotape had blunt trauma to his head, an attorney has told The Associated Press.

Medical records from the hospital where Kelly Thomas died show doctors determined the cause of death as blunt head trauma and also indicate he was shocked with a stun gun directly where his heart is located, according to lawyer Garo Mardirossian, who has filed a claim against the city of Fullerton on behalf of Thomas' father.

Mardirossian plans to hold a news conference Wednesday to provide more details about the medical report.

The revelation provides the first glimpse of how Thomas died. The Orange County coroner's office has not yet finished its report, giving the official cause of death.

Thomas died in July following an altercation with six police officers that was recorded by a bystander. Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia, can be heard on the video crying out for his father over the zapping sound of a stun gun.

The officers, whose names have not been released, have been placed on paid leave, while the district attorney's office and the FBI conduct separate investigations.

None of the officers have been arrested and no charges have been filed against them.

City officials have come under fire from outraged residents who have organized a recall election of three council members. Police Chief Michael Sellers went on medical leave last month after repeated calls for his resignation.

The council has since hired the head of the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review to act as a contractor to conduct an internal investigation.