Woman Struggles with Police Dies while in Custody NR12345ne

July 23, 2012

*** Revised***

Woman Struggles with Police
Dies while in Custody

Los Angeles:  A woman under arrest put up a violent struggle as officers were taking her into police custody and during transportation to the police station was found unresponsive in the back seat of the police car.  

On July 22, 2012, around 2 a.m., Southeast Patrol Division Officers received a call to return to the station for an investigation of two children, 3-years-old and 12-years-old, who were found abandoned at the station.

The officer’s investigation led them to the children’s residence in the 9000 block of South Broadway, where they contacted the children’s 35-year-old mother Alesia Thomas.  After interviewing Thomas and completing their preliminary investigation, officers arrested Thomas for Child Endangerment.

As the officers were taking Thomas into custody she began actively resisting arrest, attempting to pull away from the officers.  One officer performed a leg sweep and took Thomas to the ground to gain control of her.  Two other officers then handcuffed Thomas behind her back.  After the arrival of a police sergeant from Southeast Division the officers walked Thomas to their police vehicle.  Thomas continued to struggle with the officers and another unit was requested for assistance.

Thomas continued to resist the officers attempting to place her in the rear seat of their police vehicle.  To further help in control Thomas’ violent actions the officers placed a hobble restraint device on her ankles and then placed her in a seated position in the back seat of the car.

Within minutes of being placed in the police vehicle, the officers noticed Thomas did not appear to be breathing and immediately called for Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics.  They transported Thomas to a local hospital, but she failed to respond to emergency medical treatment and died a short time later.

LAPD’s Force Investigation Division (FID) Detectives responded and are investigating the in-custody death.
The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy which states that an officer’s use-of-force actions must be objectively reasonable.  Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the in-custody death.