The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Homeless advocates look to change city government

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Ron Thomas, the father of victim, Kelly Thomas, stands next to a memorial for his son on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, at the Fullerton Transportation Center in Fullerton, Calif. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Fullerton's city council reached a settlement with Cathy Thomas, the mother of Kelly Thomas. Kelly Thomas, a mentally-ill homeless man, died five days after being beaten by police last summer. The city announced they would pay her $1 million at a meeting that was packed with supporters of the Thomas family.

This settlement with Cathy Thomas is however separate from a suit that Kelly's father, Ron Thomas, is bringing against the city. Ron Thomas has also called for the termination of a third police officer. Two officers involved, Officer Ramos and Cicinelli, will be standing trial in the death but Ron Thomas wants a third officer, Joe Wolfe, to be fired. Wolfe is currently on paid leave.

Also in Fullerton, a task force created after the death of Thomas is also preparing to present a set of recommendations to the Fullerton City Council. The Fullerton Task Force on Homelessness and Mental Health Services, whose members include religious leaders, advocates, and Kelly Thomas' father, Ron Thomas, was created after the death of Kelly Thomas.

The group is recommending that the city work with the county to create a regional year-round homeless shelter and a permanent supportive housing development for the mentally ill, request a clinician from the county's behavioral health services department to work with the Fullerton Police Department on outreach to the mentally ill homeless, and ask the county to implement Laura's Law, which would create court-ordered outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill.


Ed Joyce, KPCC reporter based in Orange County.

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