After two days of deliberations, the jury in the case of LAPD officer Mary O’Callaghan has found her guilty of felony assault for repeatedly kicking 35-year-old Alesia Thomas. Thomas was handcuffed and in custody when 50-year-old O’Callaghan began to kick her. Thomas’ legs were restrained; still, Officer O’Callaghan kicked her in the groin and in the chest.
O’Callaghan did not face murder charges due in part to the coroner’s report that the victim had acute cocaine intoxication. She was suffering from heart failure as the officer began to assault her. In the video that captured the incident, you can hear Thomas pleading, “I can’t breathe.” Still, O’Callaghan continued the assault.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey stated, “I am pleased that the jury agreed with our assessment of the evidence in this case… The verdict proves the criminal justice system works.”
The family of Alesia Thomas stated:
“Our family is pleased that the officer was convicted on the charge that was brought by the Los Angeles District Attorney. This is another step in the continued struggle to obtain full justice for her children,”
According to the LA Times, O’Callaghan’s attorney presented proof that O’Callaghan did not intend to kill Thomas. In the recording, Thomas stated, “If you want to kill me, just kill me.” To this, O’Callaghan responded, “I don’t want to kill you. I just want to transport you.” Although Thomas repeatedly asked for an ambulance, officers waited 30 minutes before calling one. Thomas was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
O’Callaghan faces up to three years in prison for the felony assault charge. The coroner was unable to rule out the high level of cocaine intoxication as a contributing factor to Thomas’ death. There was no internal bruising or internal bleeding. As a result, no murder charges were pursued by the state.