The city of Fullerton, California agreed on Monday (23 November) to pay $4.9m (£3.24m) to settle a lawsuit brought by the father of a homeless man beaten to death by two then-policemen, an incident that sparked protests in the Los Angeles suburb, the plaintiff's lawyer said.
The settlement was reached on the same day the trial was scheduled to begin in the wrongful death action filed by Ron Thomas against the city, police department and two ex-officers over the beating of his 37-year-old son, Kelly Thomas, in July 2011. Thomas and his lawyers met during a news conference to respond to the settlement announcement.
Thomas said: "I absolutely wanted these guys on the stand to have them up there and try and explain their actions in the video, what they did, the results, what their attorneys say they did. Tapped Kelly twice in the face with a Taser is all Cicinelli did, according to his attorney. We know the truth and I wanted that truth brought out.
"There's a lot of factors involved and what I really want to say here is, actions speak a lot louder than words. And by that I mean, the actions of the city of Fullerton willing to pay for a total of almost $6m. I don't care about their clause in it that says they're not admitting liability, that says, that screams, we know we're liable."
Fullerton City Attorney Richard Jones said in a written statement that the final settlement amount was still pending final approval by insurers and that no taxpayer funds were involved in the agreement.
In January 2014, an Orange County jury acquitted the two former officers, Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos, of all criminal charges in the high-profile case. The FBI said following that verdict, it was re-examining the case.
During the criminal trial, prosecutors accused Cicinelli and Ramos, who had approached Thomas near a bus depot to question him about reports of vandalised cars, of turning a routine law enforcement encounter into an unnecessary and savage beating that cost the unarmed homeless man his life.
The incident was caught on a surveillance camera at the bus station and led to angry street demonstrations in Fullerton, 30 miles south east of Los Angeles, as well as the ouster of three city council members in a recall election.
By the end of the tape, Thomas can be heard screaming for help as officers swarm over him, delivering multiple blows and shocks with a stun gun. He is heard calling dozens of times for his father to help him, yelling: "Daddy, they're killing me." In 2012, Fullerton's acting chief of police posthumously exonerated Thomas of any wrongdoing in connection with the confrontation.
Additional reporting by Reuters.