May 16th, 2012
04:39 AM ET

City pays $1 million to mother of homeless man beaten to death by police

The City of Fullerton, California, has reached a $1 million settlement with the mother of a mentally ill homeless man who died last year after a beating he received at the hands of police officers.

The city council unanimously approved the award during a closed-door session on Tuesday, an attorney for Cathy Thomas said.

"To lose a son at the hands of rogue police officers is an indescribable horror," the attorney, Brian Gurwitz, said. "There is nothing this council could ever do to compensate her for the loss she's suffered."

The settlement comes a week after a California judge ordered that two Fullerton police officers stand trial in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, and it does not affect a separate wrongful-death suit filed by Thomas' father.


Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I hope the message trickles down from taxpayers and the powers that be to arrogant police officers who consider themselves gods as they enjoy blocking law-abiding citizens' access to hot-dog stands.

    May 16, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      A couple points:

      First, you hope a message trickles down from taxpayers? Dude, the taxpayers are the ones getting screwed on this. Where do you think that million dollars is coming from? A wrongful death judgment against particular cops and incarceration would impact the police community. Let the police union pay it. Passing the bill on to the taxpayers means the cops get over, no impact at all for their malfeasance.

      Second, I'm bothered that the mom is getting the money. I understand she's probably next-of-kin, but he wasn't living in her basement. She wasn't going out of her way to help her son. This seems like unjust enrichment. The mom, who bore greatest responsibility for the well-being of her son, whether he's emancipated and out of the house or not, was doing nothing and gets a windfall that the cops beat her kid to death.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      @ Sam:
      I have read my post again, and I cannot find a lack of clarity. What I wrote was based on taxpayers' footing the bill for one million dollars.
      I pay taxes, although not in that city.
      My message to bad cops is to clean up their act.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Sam,the county or whoever have insurance for just that.A 14 year old lawsuit was just awarded to a young adult that was innocently injured in an auto colliding with a county sheriff,leaving the victim disabled permanently.It being the sheriffs fault was intentionally hidden and facts were fraudulently changed to protect the sheriff and the county at all costs,thus having a 14 year time span from the occurance to the final settlement,hoping that the victim would either give up or die before the settlement with the sheriff and county was reached.This is how most of these police departments work nationwide,do whatever it takes,wether it being illegal or not as long they get what they want ,an acquittal or the dropping of said lawsuit .Because of finances,lawyers fees or time involved costing innocent people their lives,from the initial officers mistake resulting in permanent disability or worse,death to the settlement ,if its ever reached...

      May 16, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. justathought

    I use to have a high opinion of police officers, they were polite caring people. Now, even though they may use polite words, it is in a discourteous tone of voice— ; on paper they can't be faulted, in reality they are a bunch of thugs. They have no concern about your safety or welfare.
    Beginning with the beating of Rodney King, (although I think King was jerk) it has become more and more obvious that police can be vicious people. There needs to be better screening and more discipline. What is it with these cops: the likely hood of them being caught on tape is much higher than it ever has been, are they stupid? Like: Is the police department not only hiring thugs, are they hiring stupid people? Since about 1995, most of the encounters that I have had with law enforcement officers, the officers were stupid. (My definition of “stupid” is: knowing to do the right thing, but not doing it? Being a “bully” or “thug” also fits into these perimeters.)

    May 16, 2012 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Dalloway

      Please try not to lose total faith in law enforcement. You can bet if good cops were in a position to help get rid of these dogs they would. They know that bad ones are a stain on their profession.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mr Dalloway

    Some cops will continue to be lowlifes as long as they are allowed to be gang affiliants and are also shielded by the code of silence. Welcome to Chicago folks.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I agree with your assessment on some of the shameful conduct of our officers in Chicago.
      There •are• far more good than bad there; it's the bad ones who garner headlines...welcome to Chicago, indeed.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thunder

    Where was this "mother" while her son was sick and homeless????????????

    May 16, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |

    Sorry folk, we. Have the police forces that our society demands, while deaths ocasionsly do occur beatings and abuse of population should be looked at as no more than collateral damage in a war zone.
    This is a political issue, a true police state, but it is one that the populace has demanded and to a great extent accepts in the hope that life will be easier, safer and more comfortable.
    Many municipalitys pay out hundreds of thousands yesrly to settle out of court, records sealed and gag ordered, but then to the vast majority of middle class, it is not their butts getting smacked down.
    Lives of fear of possibility of harm with thosei fears always voming from minority grouping, trailet trash, illegal immigrants,low class poor and of course the biggest public enemy #1; THE UNEDUCATED.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Strict disciplinary action, special mandatory courses on conduct ,this be made a part of promotions and advancement in career . Above all remedy has to come from within the police force.
    I wonder if that would happen.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |

    We demanded a more militaristic society, and our policing powers have been increased on belief that police have needed greatrt leeway to keep streets safe and passed more rules, laws and regulations to keep mainly middle class socital fear of those other people out of our neighborhoods.
    We have untold numbers of mentally ill, non-employable, highest number percentage I'm world of incarcerated and the worst stat of all is that of a vast percentsge of our population is or has nern under legal restroctions due to anti-social behavioral patterns.
    We have society, caused by ailments that just passing more criminal laws will not ure.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    @ Hide Behind
    a tad heavy but what you say about our ailing society is the bitter truth. We have stopped looking inwards which is what keeps great nations on their pedestal.
    This society in the past decade has also become paranoid by constant drumming up of hate & fear being injected by self serving politicians and forces with agenda.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Disgusted

    I hope, "THE MOM" And Now, "THE DAD" who has a seperate suit, donate to the homeless, for obvious reasons! I know I wouldn't be able to live with myself having to hear my Son plead for his life, as his voice fades saying,
    " Daddy, They're Killing Me ".

    God, Help Our Society!

    May 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ma & pa

    @HIDE BEHIND, saywhat, Disgusted,...yes. you people think church is hotdog stand?

    May 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |

    Big deal. Our city hospital (Memorial) in Colorado Springs recently awarded an illegal Mexican woman 750,000 dollars. What for? She went to the emergency room to have her baby delivered, and the baby was born mentally retarded. She hired a TV abagado (Mexican lawyer specializing in sueing hospitals) and sued for malpractice.This even after it was proven that her husband was also mentally retarded.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Because it has nothing to do with this case? Do you think that CNN thinks your dogcatcher race should be here, too? Yeah, no.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |