Activists and civil rights groups are planning to conduct a protest rally in Los Angeles later this month to protest the refusal of the Los Angeles Police Department to release a video of Alesia Thomas, a 35-year-old mother who died in police custody.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family of Thomas, said that the Jan. 22 event is aimed at making the case that the LAPD should produce the video in a case that has attracted national attention.
“The family remains highly upset by this,” Crump said, in an interview with BET.com. “They have lost a family member. The police department has made it clear that a videotape exists of the scene. But no one will tell the family anything and no one will show them anything.”
The case involves an incident that occurred in July, when Thomas left her two children, ages 12 and 3, at a police station. According to police, Thomas sought to surrender custody of her children to police because she was addicted to drugs and did not believe she could adequately care for them.
After finding the children, officers went searching for Thomas at her home and tried to arrest her on suspicion of child endangerment. The officers drove in a patrol car outfitted with a video camera.
According to the police account, Thomas "began actively resisting arrest." One of the police officers took her to the ground by sweeping her legs from beneath her, the department’s official account said. Meanwhile, two other officers then handcuffed her. The officers then attempted to lead her to a patrol car while a supervising sergeant observed, according to the department.
However, a police official who watched the video and requested anonymity because he is not authorized to comment publicly on the case refuted the idea that Thomas was actively resisting the officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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(Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Family)
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