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September 08, 2011
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Records: Man died of brain injuries after struggle with cops

A lawyer has obtained medical records that detail Kelly Thomas' death

By PoliceOne Staff

FULLERTON, Calif. — A homeless man injured in a confrontation with police in Fullerton, California, died from head trauma, according to medical records made public Wednesday.

Obtained by attorney Garo Mardirossian, the records were compiled by physicians at the University of California Irvine Medical Center while Kelly Thomas, 37, remained on life support after a struggle with police in July.

The medical examination showed that Thomas suffered blunt head trauma, multiple broken bones in his face, and rib fractures. Thomas died five days after being admitted to the hospital.

The Orange County Coroner's office still has not determined the official cause of death, according to

Susan Kang Schroder, chief of staff for the Orange County District Attorney's office, told the Associated Press it is impossible to draw any conclusions without the coroner's report, which will detail toxicological findings.

"They're allowed to use force," Schroder said, referring to police officers in general. "There's no question if there was force used. That doesn't answer the legal question of whether force was excessive or not."

Since the incident, the six unidentified officers presumed to be involved have been placed on paid administrative leave. Police Chief Michael Sellers has taken a paid medical leave and has faced pressure from city council to resign.

The FBI and the Orange County district attorney’s office are conducting two separate investigations into the death.

The Fullerton police department declined to comment about the medical reports.

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