LAPD Officer Sentenced to Jail in Assault of Alesia Thomas

I attended the sentencing of Los Angeles Police Officer Mary O’Callaghan this morning. O’Callaghan was convicted last month of assault by a peace officer under color of authority on Alesia Thomas in South Los Angeles. Alesia Thomas died after that assault and as the video showed, Officer O’Callaghan nor her colleagues were the slightest bit concerned.  Many people felt that O’Callaghan should have been charged with felony murder or at the very least manslaughter–myself included.

It was an emotionally filled proceeding from the start. The District Attorney’s Office recommended felony probation and 180 days in jail. The defense recommended it be dropped down to a misdemeanor and probation be given.

Alesia Thomas’ mother, the father of her oldest daughter and Najee Ali made victim impact statements—the latter I do not know why. Wait–let me stop lying, yes I do.

Officer O’Callaghan spoke directly to Alesia Thomas’ mother and I could tell she was incredibly sincere and remorseful for what happened. That much was clear. At one point Mrs. Thomas wanted to hug Officer O’Callaghan but the judge said nope, can’t do it.

So about the sentence itself.

Judge Sam Ohta flat out denied probation from the jump. In Judge Ohta’s rationale he cited AB 109 and how California’s realignment laws were going to play a role in his decision. He also made it a point to say that in rendering his decision he was really focused on two areas–1) punishment and 2) using O’Callaghan as an example to deter other police officers from making the same mistake. In the end, the judge imposed the maximum of 3 years but because of AB 109 O’Callaghan was eligible to have 20 months suspended off of that sentence. She was credited for 49 days times two for a total of 98 days.

Now 16 months is not going to be 16 months. This is the county jail we are talking about. At most, my guess is that she does 6 months before she is free to go. But it was the judge who imposed the maximum–not District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office who asked for probation and 180 days.

For O’Callaghan though, I think the real punishment is that she lost her pension after nearly two decades of service in the LAPD. She lost her medical benefits and she will never be able to work as a police officer again. In fact, her ability to make money is going to be severely hampered with a felony conviction. Her attorney mentioned that she was going to lose her job as a police dispatcher in Vermont. Her reputation is ruined. I think the time she spends in jail is nothing to compared to all of these things.

Still I don’t think O’Callaghan was the only officer who should have been on trial.  She was one a few officers who played a role in the untimely demise of Alesia Thomas but for some reason folks are looking the other way on when it comes to those officers.

I walked out of the courtroom feeling sympathetic for all parties involved. There were no winners today. However, O’Callaghan will live to see another day. Alesia Thomas won’t. Her children don’t have a mother and are going to have to live with knowing her mother died while in police custody. A death that by all means was egregious and in view of officers who lacked any kind of compassion or respect for her while she was struggling to breathe.

Now as to the answer to the question on whether or not O’Callaghan’s sentence to jail time is going to be a warning to other officers to shape up–that remains to be seen.  In the meantime we have Chief Charlie Beck’s decision on the two officers involved in the death of Ezell Ford and of course Officer Richard Garcia’s upcoming trial in the assault of Clinton Alford.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • GreyWolf62

    District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office asked for probation and 180 days. They don’t mind it when white people kill black people.

  • Citizen

    LOL you’re painting Alesia like she was the mother of the year. She was a drug addict and dumped her kids. If she hadn’t died, her kids would’ve ended up in foster care anyway and she would still be out on the streets smoking her crack.

  • candowontdo

    Citizen you nailed it.

  • FrankRedd

    Maybe…or maybe at some point she would have turned things around a made a better life for herself and her kids. She at least deserved the right to make the effort; that has been unfairly taken away. This world is full of people who lifted themselves from the ashes, beating the odds and living the second half of their lives with meaning and purpose. Unless you have a direct connection to the Almighty and know his purpose and plan for us all, worry about you and pray for the weak until they become strong.

  • “…but because of AB 109 O’Callaghan was eligible to have 20 months suspended off of that sentence…”
    AB109 has no impact on suspending a sentence, it just allows the sentence to be served in County instead of a Pen. BUT that is ONLY for non violent, non serious crimes, which is what hers was I guess because he did give a prison term and it will be served in County. I think she will do the entire county year minus half for PC 4019 good time credits. 6 months…sad commentary on our system.

  • Pretty sad…since it was probation and not AB109 she will do just a few weeks I bet, less than 1 month because of overcrowding

  • C4Adam

    Why does the Chief and his management staff get a pass on these police abuse cases. At least hold the station Captain accountable. In this case I understand officer O’Callaghan’s Captain was promoted after this death. That sends the wrong message to the officers.

  • His Eminence RobbyJ

    Congratulations for making one of the most ignorant comments around. Feel free to accept the fact that it is 2015. SMH.

  • His Eminence RobbyJ

    Well stated FrankRedd. It was a senseless death. Just a little compassion could have saved her life but by no means would I ever say that Officer O’Callaghan intentionally meant for this to happen. It was a perfect storm set for disaster. As Jasmyne properly said “There are no winners.”

  • Tyndon Clusters

    Nailed what? being a total dipschitt? Yes I agree. NAILED IT!!!!!

  • GreyWolf62

    You don’t read much, do you? Try taking off your Klansman hood and getting out more.

  • O’Callaghan’s complete LACK of compassion for someone who is hog tied and cannot breath is simply unfathomable, absolutely abysmal conduct. This woman was DYING, and he callous, cold-blooded and heartless. Just despicable conduct. And she was an LAPD COP????? How did she get hired? Was she hired under an AA quota? Was she vetted properly in background??? Or was she OK before she joined LAPD and LAPD and it’s culture of corruption changed her into this monster? I don’t have the answers, but I hope and pray there is a better person deep down inside. Maybe there is based on her contrition and remorse shown at the sentencing, I hope so.

  • His Eminence RobbyJ

    I guess I will have to seek intelligent conversation elsewhere. Stay ignorant my friend.