Fullerton Pays $1-Million Settlement to Kelly Thomas’ Mother

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A $1-million settlement will be paid by the city of Fullerton to Cathy Thomas, mother of mentally ill transient Kelly Thomas, who died last July following a beating by city police officers.

The unexpected announcement was made at Monday’s Fullerton City Council meeting, according to The Orange County Register. The settlement does not include Kelly Thomas’ father, Ron Thomas, who is pursuing separate legal action. He has said any money awarded him will be used to support people in need.

From the Orange County Register’s story:

In exchange, Cathy Thomas, who did not attend the council meeting, agreed to not pursue any further claims or lawsuits seeking damages for the death of her son.

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

The announcement came shortly after the panel left a closed session to begin the public council meeting. There had been no public indication that such a settlement was being brokered, or even discussed. The council voted 5-0 to accept the deal.

Gurwitz said he approached the city in September to discuss a possible settlement. A mediator suggested the $1 million settlement.

At a preliminary hearing last week, two of the officers, Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, were ordered to stand trial in the death of Kelly Thomas, 37, who died July 10 of suffocation and the results of head injuries.

During the preliminary hearing, a video was released that showed the officers’ initial conversations with Kelly Thomas July 5 at the Fullerton bus station and then the fight that ended with Kelly Thomas unconscious. He never regained consciousness.

— TRACY WOOD

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