The city of Fullerton said on Monday that it reached a settlement in the death of a mentally ill homeless man who died after a violent arrest that brought national scrutiny to the suburban university town.
The city agreed to pay $4.9 million on the morning that opening statements were to begin in the wrongful death lawsuit, said Ron Thomas, the father of the late Kelly Thomas.
Ron Thomas said at a news conference that while the city acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement, it was a clear indication to him of its liability and guilt in the death of his 37-year-old son Kelly Thomas. Thomas said he feels vindicated by the settlement.
Since the 2011 death of his son, who was homeless and had schizophrenia that had led to previous interactions with police, Ron Thomas has crusaded to bring attention to the death, to see the officers who arrested him prosecuted and to improve police interactions with the mentally ill.
Two Fullerton officers were cleared during a criminal trial last year. Former Officer Manuel Ramos was acquitted of second-degree murder, and former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.