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Claim Filed In Police Abuse Case

FULLERTON, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) — The family of a Fullerton, Calif., homeless man who died after an altercation with six police officers has filed a claim with the city, officials say.

An attorney representing the parents of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man who died five days after a struggle with Fullerton police officers, filed the claim Thursday, indicating their intention to file a civil lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The claim alleges that the officers, who are currently on paid administrative leave, “individually and in unison severely beat decedent Kelly Thomas with their fists and with objects and subjected decedent Kelly Thomas to excessive applications of Taser electricity and to numerous forms of excessive and deadly force under circumstances in which Kelly Thomas was subdued and restrained and represented no threat of harm to the Fullerton police officers, causing the death of decedent Kelly Thomas.”

The case is being investigated by the district attorney’s office and the FBI. City officials have contacted Michael Gennaco, the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review’s chief attorney and law enforcement consultant.

City Manager Joe Felz informed the City Council Wednesday that Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers has taken paid medical leave for an unspecified amount of time.

Council members Bruce Whitaker and Sharon Quirk-Silva are calling Sellers to resign for keeping evidence from them, including a surveillance video that shows part of the struggle between officers and Thomas, and for failing to provide the public with a clear narrative of Thomas’s death.

Sellers cannot be fired while on medical leave, the Times said.

Capt. Kevin Hamilton is acting as chief until Sellers returns.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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