D.A. Sued by Kelly Thomas’ Mother for Records

Yes, the Kelly Thomas case continues, and now it's his mother in the spotlight. In an attempt to understand why her son died after a beating by Fullerton police officers, Cathy Thomas requested records from the District Attorney's office.

The records, including surveillance video, police audio recordings and witness statements, were not given to Cathy Thomas, and the D.A.'s office cites the reason being that it could (not "would") hurt a criminal case. Cathy Thomas has now filed a lawsuit against District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

To be fair, there are two active criminal cases against the two officers, which is what the D.A.'s office cited when the records were requested by Thomas' mother. What we can't understand is how giving the records to Cathy Thomas will hurt the investigation. She surely would not do anything to hinder the criminal cases against the officers who have been accused of fatally beating her son.

And, more specifically, her attorney, Brian Gurwitz, said that she is a victim under the law, and therefore she is entitled to the information under the California Public Records Act. "The Public Records Act makes a very clear distinction that a victim should be treated differently than the general public," Gurwitz said in an interview.

Although the Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri agreed that yes, Cathy Thomas is a victim and entitled to the records, she would get them at "some point in time" by that releasing the records to her now "would clearly endanger the successful completion of the investigation and the case against the defendants."

The D.A.'s office would not release the records even when Gurwitz said he was willing to sign a court order to prevent him releasing any of them to the public.

How do you feel about this? Do you feel that Cathy Thomas has a right to see those records now?, especially when she is willing to sign something that prevents her from exposing them to the public? Do you feel that it's too risky to share them with her while the criminal case against the officers is active? Do you feel that this is another breakdown in our criminal justice system? Please leave a comment below with your opinion.

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