Was Kelly Thomas's Death By Police An Isolated Incident?
Unfortunately, It Was Not
by Allen R. Kates, MFAW, BCECR
Schizophrenic Khoa Anh Le
Unfortunately, the Kelly Thomas beating and subsequent death from his injuries is not an isolated case. Less than a year later, another schizophrenic was beaten to death in his own home by California police officers.
On June 14, 2012, Khoa Anh Le, 37, was allegedly tased and beaten with flashlights and batons by two El Monte, California, police officers.
The parallels between the two incidents are shockingly similar.
The officers were responding to a family disturbance call around 11 PM. The victim was unarmed. The officers allegedly kicked, choked, tased and beat him about 20 times with a flashlight.
The victim’s sister said that she saw police kicking her brother when he was down on his knees. Family members who tried to help the victim were warned to stay away. Khoa Anh Le was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The victim’s sister had called police after he had gotten into an argument with his father. On the phone, she told the 911 operator that her brother was mentally ill. When the officers arrived, the fracas was over, and Khoa Ah Le was calmly using his computer. For reasons still under investigation, the officers then confronted the man, and the deadly confrontation ensued.
Like Thomas, Khoa Anh Le was a schizophrenic and acting in a peaceful manner until officers escalated the conflict with the mentally ill man. As far as we know, there was no video taken this time. However, the officer's digital audio recorders may have been running. We will know more after the investigation is concluded.
Although the 911 operator was alerted that the man was mentally ill, did the officers know? And if they had known, would they have done anything differently?
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