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Family Member of Man Who Died in Pasadena Police Custody Files Suit
By City News Service
Published July 24, 2020

(File Photo)

Attorneys for a teenager who lived with his non-biological father — who died after an altercation with police — filed suit today in federal court against the city of Pasadena and six of its officers for loss of love, support and companionship.

Shane Love, 19, alleges that officers used excessive force against 35- year-old Reginald Thomas Jr., which led to his in-custody death, leaving the plaintiff without the man he called his father, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Thomas, the father of eight children, died on Sept. 30, 2016 after he was shocked with a Taser three times and wrestled into custody by officers outside the Pasadena apartment he shared with his girlfriend and family, according to the suit.

Pasadena police have said the officers — named in the complaint as Thomas Butler, Robert Griffith, Michael Orosco, Philip Poirier, Raphael Santiago and Aaron Villacana — were trying to protect Thomas’ family while responding to the early-morning disturbing the peace call.

According to the lawsuit, Thomas suffered from a “slight mental challenge.” Police said he was seen acting erratically, carrying a fire extinguisher and dagger, and refused to put them down when confronted by officers.

A Pasadena police spokeswoman said the department had not yet received the complaint so could not comment.

The city of Pasadena agreed two years ago to settle a wrongful death lawsuit in the case and pay Thomas’ girlfriend and family $1.5 million.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office conducted a review of the incident and concluded the involved officers had not committed any violations of criminal law during the violent arrest.

The Pasadena Police Department undertook an administrative review, which found the officers acted within guidelines.

While Thomas’ autopsy failed to pinpoint cause of death, it found intoxication from methamphetamines, PCP and marijuana to be a contributing factor, according to news reports.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for loss of love, companionship and financial support.

 

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