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LAPD Officer Charged In Custody Death

October 10, 2013  | 

Photo by Paul Clinton.
Photo by Paul Clinton.
A Los Angeles Police officer was charged with assault Thursday for allegedly kicking a woman seven times during an arrest that led to an in-custody death.

Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Officer Mary O'Callaghan, an 18-year LAPD veteran, with felony assault under color of authority, reports the Associated Press.

The officer's attorney said his client has never had a sustained complaint against her and she "looks forward to proving her innocence in court."

Officer O'Callaghan, 48, has been relieved of duty without pay. The LAPD launched an internal probe of the five officers involved in the arrest in August of 2012.

The incident began when officers responded to the home of Alesia Thomas, 35, during a child endangerment investigation on July 22. When Thomas refused to get into the patrol car and "actively resisted arrest," officers attempted to use a hobble restraint.

Officer O'Callaghan allegedly kicked Thomas in the groin, abdomen and upper thigh in a fight captured on dash-cam video. Thomas later died. An autopsy showed cocaine in her system.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League offered a brief comment about the charges.

"While I cannot comment on the specific incident because I have not seen the video and the officer involved has her own legal counsel, the alleged actions of the officer are incongruous with her reputation as an officer who was known to be diligent, courteous and ethical," said Tyler Izen, league president.

Comments (14)

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14

garyjansen @ 10/10/2013 6:15 PM

thatofficerhadenowright to get badge heavyofficersmustbecarefullbeacusepeoplearewatchingthemgaryjjansen

mark haskins @ 10/10/2013 6:54 PM

Who are you to judge Mr. Jansen? it's right not "wright". If you're not law enforcement, which I bet you're not, please get the off this website.

Dr. Steven Ross @ 10/10/2013 7:50 PM

As we all know, it is rare but not impossible to have in custody deaths with suspects who are high on cocaine or other substances and also placed in the prone position while in restraints. I seriously doubt that this was intentional abuse and the kicks described most certainly would not cause serious enough harm to end in death. So, people should hold their comments until the information is examined. Just beware that we never know what the medical, psychological or drug induced problems we will be dealing with during the heat of an arrest. If anything, this may be a training issue that ended in tragedy. By the way, police officers are also assumed innocent until proven guilty. SFR retired PD

R G Montgomery @ 10/10/2013 10:03 PM

This could well be one of those incidents similar to the "Why Did Officer Shoot Suspect Eight Times?" The answer comes out to be "Because the Suspect was still shooting at the officer after seven shots fired."

When did the deceased suspect in this instance quit fighting and resisting?

Dr. Ross has a good point: More information before judgement.

chris @ 10/10/2013 10:38 PM

My e-mail arrived with the title "Female LAPD Officer Charged In Custody Death." (Once I opened the article the "female" is dropped from the title.) Can someone enlighten me as to why it's important that this is a female? I read the article and I see no reason to add that it's a female officer involved other than a shallow attempt to generate more readers. I really don't recall the last time an article began by telling me the officer was a male. C'mon Police One... leave the cheap ploys to the regular press.

John @ 10/11/2013 4:19 AM

Come on......
"Child Endangerment" and "Cocaine" added to the situation as well as a subject who actively resisted arrest. This is apparently an action by the Department to be politically correct. The officer's gender is mentioned, but not the racial or ethnic background of the offender. An eighteen year veteran officer with no sustained complaints will eventually be exonerated of any wrongdoing.

S.S. @ 10/11/2013 6:01 AM

I wasn't there, nor did I see any video. I won't pass judgement. I hope everything works out for the officer. It doesn't say if the offender beat her child or children, and it did state that the offender was high on cocaine. That right there could be the cause for S.I.C.D.

steve @ 10/11/2013 6:22 AM

Let's face it, there evidently was a video of this incident. And a lot can be determined from videos. I hope that it will exonerate the officer but my experience has been that an officer using their feet to control a perp, especially when the perp is on the ground, normally doesn't turn out good for the officer.

Dave @ 10/11/2013 7:45 AM

Does LAPD use Krava Maga?,,,sounds like it was used in this incident. An uninformed third party watching might think the officer is "abusing" the suspect, when its actually an approved arrest control procedure. I think Mr. Jansen makes my point.

Bud Johnson @ 10/11/2013 8:07 AM

Felony charges were filed with the District Attorney. The officer will be entitled to defend herself in a court of law. This officer may be innocent. Yet, what the hell is Chief Beck grandstanding when giving a statement to the press?

Johnny Law @ 10/11/2013 8:09 AM

The key information in the above article is "autopsy showed cocaine in her system". I would say the cocaine and the exertion of fighting the police caused the death and not a few kicks. We will see.

Capt. Crunch @ 10/11/2013 10:15 AM

I agree with Johnny Law, I hope everything goes well for the officer it is ashame for her to lose her job over a low life that has no respect for the law.

mike @ 10/11/2013 11:46 AM

Why not open comments to the ACLU, Al-Jazeera and any goofball with an axe to grind against cops?

Jorge A Ramirez Ph.D. @ 10/12/2013 3:38 PM

I believe the cause of death was the narcotics involved and not the kicks. The mention of her gender was wrong. She is a Police Officer clear and simple.

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