Kelly Thomas' Father Sues City of Fullerton

The lawsuit is filed one year after the homeless man's death.

On the one-year anniversary of transient Kelly Thomas' deadly struggle with Fullerton police, his father sued the city in Orange County Superior Court.

Ron Thomas' lawsuit, filed Thursday morning, does not yet request specific damages, Thomas' attorney Garo Mardirossian said.

Ron Thomas has been reflective about his son's beating death by police, saying he still struggles with the incident.

"Time heals all wounds -- that's the saying. But, right now, it hasn't healed a thing for me," he said. "It's like it just happened for me."

Thomas said he recently was at the bus stop where his son became involved in a struggle with police at the Fullerton Transportation Center on July 5, 2011. He was doing a news interview, and the video of Kelly Thomas being struck by police was playing in the news van, he said.

"I was 250 feet away from where it all happened. They start playing that 'Dad, dad, they're killing me,' and I'm right there where he was screaming and crying, and I just broke apart," Thomas said.

Still, he said he will not shy away from painful memories as he plans several events this week -- including concerts and an art gallery exhibition -- to honor his son.

A more solemn event will be held at 8 p.m. today at the Fullerton Transportation Center.

On Friday, about 80 paintings done by 30 artists inspired by Kelly Thomas will be displayed at the PAS Gallery.

Cherie Currie of the Runaways and Susan Olsen of "The Brady Bunch" have contributed work. Currie and Olsen were expected to be there, Thomas said.

"I've been through the art gallery three times and there's some stuff in there that tears me up," Ron Thomas said.

Thomas founded the Kelly Thomas Memorial Foundation in 2011. A benefit concert was held last year, and this year's show, headlined by the Adolescents, will be held Saturday.

"They were glad to play and they're doing it for free," Ron Thomas said of the Fullerton punk band.

The foundation primarily raises money to buy food and clothing, which is handed out to the area's homeless through local churches and food banks, Ron Thomas said.

"Rain gear is a huge one," Ron Thomas said of the needs of the area's homeless. The foundation also hands out bus passes and toilet kits to the homeless, he said.

The past year has seen two of the police officers involved in the struggle ordered to stand trial and three city councilmen recalled as a result of Kelly Thomas' death.

"It's taken a heavy toll on me," Ron Thomas said.

ms.sc. July 06, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Sad story indeed of the distance within a family and the abusive force of some mentally ill law enforcement personnel.


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