Trial of LAPD Officer for the Death of Alesia Thomas Set to Begin This Month

Mary O’Callaghan, an 18-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, will stand trial in mid February of this year for the July 2012 death of 33-year old Aleasia Thomas. Charged with Abuse Under Color of Authority, O’Callaghan possibly faces a maximum of one year in county jail and/or a fine of $10,000 if convicted.

Thomas left her two small children at the 77th Street Division of the Los Angeles Police Department around 2 a.m. the morning of July 22, 2012. The children reportedly had a note with them that said their grandmother should be called.

Police officers eventually ended up at the door of Thomas’ apartment a few hours later to question her about the abandonment of her children. A report of the incident from the LAPD’s Board of Commissioners says that at some point during their questioning of her, Thomas told police that she “wanted to leave.” Police made the decision at that point to take Thomas into custody, where a struggle ensued. Officers struggled to get Thomas out of her 2nd floor apartment building and then struggled to get her into a police car.

The report goes on to state that Thomas was eventually put into the back of the police car but her legs were reportedly hanging outside of the door. O’Callaghan and her fellow officers were having difficulty getting Thomas all the way into the back seat, and at one point O’Callaghan was overheard by one fellow officer to threaten to kick Thomas “if she kept it up.” O’Callaghan eventually “utilized her feet seven times on three separate occasions to push or kick the Subject, in the upper thigh, groin and abdomen area” into the police car according to the report.

The report also notes that once Thomas was secured in the back seat an officer turned on the vehicle’s dash cam and rear seat video recorders. Neither the audio or video from the car has been released to the public yet however, the report also notes that Thomas appears to try to sit up and asks for an ambulance and can be heard saying “I Can’t Breathe” on the tape. Thomas’s eyes eventually roll back in her head, and an officer checks on her approximately 30 seconds later and determines that she is in need of an ambulance.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says he made the decision to recommend the charges against O’Callaghan after reviewing the tape of the incident along with the report of the Board of Commissioners.