Protests once again erupted last Friday after a black man who reportedly mentally ill was killed after being tased by police. Reginald Thomas, 35, died after he was subdued by police in Pasadena, California.
Family members said he was tased and handcuffed after what they described as a “fight” with officers. Shainie Lindsay, Thomas’ partner told reporters that he left behind eight children. She added that “Junior”, as he was known to many, was a good father them.
According to the Pasadena Star News, Lindsay’s brother Forrest Elder claimed that Thomas called for help but the authorities “treated him as a suspect.” Her sister told reporters that her partner was “out of it” and called police.
When officers arrived at the scene at around 2:20 AM, Reginald Thomas was holding a fire extinguisher and knife. He was holding the blade under his armpit but had not threatened the officers with it. His mental state however left him unable to comply with orders to drop the items.
Reginald Thomas Was Mentally Ill According To Relatives
According to the Los Angeles Times, when Thomas refused to cooperate, officers shot him twice with a taser. He continued to resist which lead them to use physical force to restrain him, this included kicking him in the head and hitting him with batons.
As the officers were placing handcuffs on Thomas, they noticed he was in distress. They immediately began implementing life-saving measures however it was too late.
Thomas was a known 51-50, a person who is a danger to themselves or others, but it doesn’t mean they had to kill him. A psychiatric hold for 72 hours for evaluation and treatment was the standard procedure for people like him.
The death of Reginald Thomas after police shot and killed Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old African-American man. His death in September 27 sparked several days of protests in Southern California.