People of color suspiciously dying while in police custody appears to be a fairly common theme in news headlines these days, yet it seems that no one is really doing much about it. Back in July, a woman by the name of Alesia Thomas was reported to have mysteriously died after being picked up by five officers from the Los Angeles Police Department after she dropped her two children off at a South Los Angeles police station stating that she was struggling with a drug addiction and having a difficult time supporting her family.
After dropping her children off, the officers found her extremely distraught at her home and proceeded to arrest her on Child Endangerment charges. Eye witnesses say that when Alesia attempted to resist the arrest, the officers subdued her with a “leg sweep” and yelled weight-related obscenities at her. As Thomas continued to resist arrest, it was reported that officers placed her in a “hobble restraint device”, which basically attached her ankles to her handcuffed hands and proceeded to kick her in the genitals. Moments later Alesia died in the back of the squad car.
The way that the story is being told, over the summer a full investigation was launched on the officers involved in the arrest because it was considered a violent arrest.
MSNBC is now reporting that the family of the deceased woman is filing two lawsuits against the police department. One being for wrongful death and the other because the LAPD refuses to release the dash-cam video, which would provide more insight into all that went down on that fateful night. The family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump, who is also the attorney who is handling the Trayvon Martin case, believes that the footage is being withheld because the LAPD have something to hide.
“It’s really straightforward and clear,” he told MSNBC.com. “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.”
This is an extremely sad story and our prayers go out to the Thomas family. We hope that justice is served soon for the unfortunate death of this 35-year-old mother of two.