Los Angeles: Earlier today a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge sentenced Officer Mary O’Callaghan to 16 months in state prison. The sentence comes after she was found guilty of felony assault under color of authority on June 5, 2015. The charges stemmed from O’Callaghan’s conduct during the arrest of Alesia Thomas on July 22, 2012, while O’Callaghan was assigned to LAPD’s Southeast Division.
Ms. Thomas was arrested by LAPD officers on the evening of July 22, 2012 for child abandonment after leaving her minor children in the lobby of Southeast Area Community Police Station. O’Callaghan responded to the scene of the arrest to assist in taking Ms. Thomas into custody. An LAPD Digital In-Car Video System recorded O’Callaghan making inappropriate comments and kicking Thomas in the stomach and groin while handcuffed in the backseat of the patrol car. Thomas later died at the hospital and the Los Angeles County Coroner found that acute cocaine intoxication was the major factor in her death.
LAPD’s Force Investigation Division immediately launched an investigation into Ms. Thomas’ death and uncovered O’Callaghan’s conduct resulting in her removal from field duties and being relieved of duty without pay by the Chief of Police. The LAPD also conducted a criminal investigation into her conduct in coordination with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Justice System Integrity Division, which filed criminal charges in 2013 for felony assault.
“As I expressed at the time, I was very concerned about this incident when it was first brought to light. It was our investigation that ultimately led to the criminal charges against her and now a prison sentence” said LAPD Chief Beck. “It should be clear to everyone that the LAPD and the criminal justice system will hold officers accountable for their actions when they operate outside the law.”