Los Angeles: Earlier today opening statements began in the criminal trial against Mary O’Callaghan, an LAPD officer formerly assigned to Southeast Area patrol.
O’Callaghan is facing a felony charge of assaulting an arrestee under color of authority based on the LAPD’s investigation into O’Callaghan’s conduct during the arrest of Alesia Thomas on July 22, 2012 for child abandonment.
O’Callaghan assisted officers in placing Thomas in the back seat of a patrol car. The LAPD’s Digital In-Car Video System captured O’Callaghan kicking Thomas in the stomach and groin area and pushing her in the throat while in the back seat. Thomas later lost consciousness and was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
As in all in-custody deaths, the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division (FID) responded to the scene of the arrest and began a comprehensive investigation into the incident. The LAPD also notified the Office of the Inspector General and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
The investigation involved interviewing witnesses, collecting and analyzing forensic evidence, and reviewing the in-car video footage. When the conduct was discovered the Department immediately removed her from the field and assigned her home. The District Attorney’s Office subsequently filed a felony criminal complaint against O’Callaghan based on the LAPD’s investigation of the incident. The Chief of Police has relieved her of duty and she is no longer receiving pay.
“When any officer is suspected of going beyond the law, the LAPD will thoroughly investigate the allegations and work closely with the District Attorney’s Office to bring charges where appropriate,” said Chief of Police Charlie Beck. “In this case, the LAPD’s investigation led directly to the charges being presented in a court of law and we await the justice system’s determination based on the evidence in the case.”
Note: All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.