crimesider

Female LAPD officer guilty of assault for kicking handcuffed woman who died

Officer Mary O’Callaghan (left) pleaded not guilty in 2013 to assault under color of authority in a 2012 arrest

CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Jurors on Friday convicted a Los Angeles police officer of felony assault for repeatedly kicking a handcuffed woman who later died.

The jury reached its verdict after two days of deliberations in the trial of Officer Mary O'Callaghan, 50. She pleaded not guilty to assault under color of authority in the 2012 arrest of Alesia Thomas, 35.

Officers went to arrest Thomas at her home after she left her two children outside a police station.

A dashboard camera in a police cruiser captured O'Callaghan kicking the handcuffed Thomas in the backseat seven times in the groin, abdomen and upper thigh, prosecutors said. Thomas lost consciousness and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The 228-pound Thomas resisted arrest, according to a report by the Police Commission.

O'Callaghan's attorney said she never had a complaint against her upheld during her 19 years on the force and had an exemplary record.

O'Callaghan was not charged with Thomas' death. She has been relieved of duty without pay pending an administrative hearing.

An autopsy found Thomas had cocaine in her system, but the cause of death was listed as undetermined because the struggle couldn't be excluded as a contributing factor. There were no internal injuries or bruising.