LOS ANGELES (UPI) — A Los Angeles police officer was charged with assault as part of an investigation into the death of a woman after a struggle with police, prosecutors said.
Mary O’Callaghan, 48, was charged Wednesday with felony assault and, if convicted, could spend three years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The prosecutor’s office said it planned to request a $35,000 bail for O’Callaghan, CNN reported.
The officer was one of five who responded to the South Los Angeles home of Alesia Thomas July 22, 2012, to investigate why she surrendered custody of her children, ages 3 and 12, to police earlier that day. Thomas had said she was a drug addict and couldn’t take care of the children.
Thomas resisted arrest for child endangerment and one officer knocked her to the ground by sweeping her legs out from under her, the police account of the incident said.
A patrol car’s video camera captured the altercation, in which O’Callaghan can be seen kicking Thomas in the stomach and groin, and pushing at her throat.
Thomas was eventually put into the back of the patrol car and can be seen on the video breathing shallowly and then apparently not at all.
The coroner’s report said Thomas’ cause of death was “undetermined,” and since prosecutors said they couldn’t prove O’Callaghan directly caused the woman’s death, they didn’t file involuntary manslaughter charges.