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Deeper than Atlantis
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Tuesday
Oct162012

Attorney Demands LAPD Turn Over Video & Toxicology Report in Police Suffocation Death of Unarmed Black Woman - Stomped on by Cops

From [HERE] Following her horrific death, an attorney representing the family of Alesia Thomas wants the LAPD to release its video of the woman's confrontation with cops last summer. Thomas died in custody following a kick to her genitals and a leg sweep at the hands of officers, the department admits. At least some of it was caught on police video. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crunch wants that tape. In fact, he's asking for federal help:

Crump has given the department 10 days to turn over the tape or face him in federal court, according to journalist Chuck Philips. (See more on Philips here and [MORE]). The attorney has already asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation into the incident, which wouldn't be good since a Rampart-scandal-era federal consent decree overseeing how the department polices minorities was only lifted in 2009.

At least five Los Angeles police officers are under investigation in the death of a woman who suffocated after an officer stomped on her genital area and others used additional force to take her into custody, police officials confirmed Thursday. The altercation in front of her South Los Angeles apartment was captured by a patrol car’s video camera. However, the altercation began inside the apartment building.  Once outside a female officer then threatened to kick Thomas in the genitals if she did not comply, Green confirmed, and the officer followed through on her threat and allegedly stomped on her groin. [MORE

After officers forced her into the back seat of the police car, Thomas is also apprarently seen on the video breathing shallowly and she eventually stopped breathing. LAPD officers went to an apartment building on the 9000 block of Broadway on July 22 after two children were found abandoned at a police station. A neighbor says he saw two LAPD officers struggle with the children's mother, 35-year-old Alesia Thomas, outside her apartment.

After questioning her briefly, the officers attempted to arrest Thomas on suspicion of child endangerment, the department’s account said. Thomas “began actively resisting arrest” as officers attempted to take her into custody and one of the officers took her to the ground by sweeping her legs out from beneath her, the LAPD’s official account said. Two other officers then handcuffed Thomas behind her back and attempted to lead her to a patrol car while a supervising sergeant observed, according to the department’s version of the incident.

A witness who lives in the building said the police had her on the ground near the doorway of the entrance of the apartment handcuffed before taking her outside. [MORE]  

Two more officers were summoned to the scene as Thomas continued to struggle. Green confirmed that Thomas was a very large woman. A “hobble restraint device” – an adjustable strap – was tightened around Thomas' ankles to give the officers more control over her and she was eventually placed in the back of the patrol car, the LAPD account said. The official account, however, made no mention of what Green confirmed was a female officer’s questionable treatment of Thomas.

The department’s official account said the officers immediately notified paramedics. It is unclear whether the officers attempted to resuscitate her and how much time passed before paramedics arrived to render medical aid. Thomas died shortly after being transported to a hospital. [MORE

According to Philips' website todayCrump issued an ultimatum this morning, putting [LAPD Chief Charlie] Beck on notice that his department has 10 days left to turn over the tape before the family petitions a federal court to force the LAPD to meet its obligation. Crump has already contacted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for a federal probe into LAPD misconduct.Though at least some of the incident was caught on tape (Philips says " ... every second of the altercation was captured on videotape"), the public has yet to see it -- or a coroner's toxicology report, for that matter.

Five cops at the scene, including a supervisor, were taken off field duty while the department investigates the matter.

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