Mentally ill man’s death in fight with Calif. police focuses attention on training

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FULLERTON, Calif. — Police should have been intimately familiar with Kelly Thomas and his history of mental illness.

Thomas had symptoms of schizophrenia and a 16-year string of arrests for everything from assault with a deadly weapon to public urination to jaywalking. But somehow, things ended differently this time.

Six officers who were trying to search Thomas’ backpack after reports of break-ins at a Fullerton, Calif., transit hub got into a violent fight with the 37-year-old. He later died of severe head and neck injuries.

His death has provoked outrage in the college town southeast of Los Angeles and raised questions about how well police in Fullerton and elsewhere are trained to deal with the mentally ill….

Reported by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/mentally-ill-mans-death-in-fight-with-calif-police-focuses-attention-on-training/2011/08/05/gIQApOExwI_story.html

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