Skip to Content

Pasadena Quietly Settles With Family of Reginald Thomas Jr., Killed by Police in 2016

11:29 AM PDT on April 4, 2018

The city of Pasadena will pay the family of a mentally ill man who died during a brawl with Pasadena police a settlement of $1.5 million, a move approved by the City Council in a closed-door session in late March.

The family of 35-year-old Reginald Thomas Jr. filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city that argued the Pasadena Police Department used excessive force and then tried to hold back evidence to cover up the incident that left Thomas dead.

The Pasadena Star-News confirmed the settlement on Sunday evening.

Career Harper, the family's lawyer, told the LA Times that Pasadena officers were well aware of Thomas's mental illness. In a detailed account of the incident, the paper described Thomas was repeatedly shocked with stun guns, battered with batons, and punched and kicked in the head.

The Pasadena Star-News said the decision to settle the lawsuit came after closed City Council session three weeks before the case was scheduled for trial.

In the last few years, Pasadena police violent confrontations with black men have caused public outcry and protests, including the killings of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade and 21-year-old Christopher Ballew. In early March Police Chief Phillip Sanchez announced his retirement as department criticism continued.

Across the country, deaths of black men under police custody have caused national protest. An updated 2016 study by the American Journal of Public Health found that the rate of non-Latino black men killed via legal intervention was almost three times higher than of white men. The study focused on use of lethal force between 2010 and 2014.

In Pasadena, the settlement with Thomas's family does not mean the city of Pasadena and the police department have admitted to liability or fault, Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said in a statement.

While satisfied with the settlement, Thomas' family would like his autopsy report to become public and for the officers involved in the incident to be criminally charged, Harper relayed in a statement. An investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is continuing.

RELATED: Tense Scenes at Westmont Building Where Teen Died in Sheriff Shooting

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Spot Check: Colombian Desgranados In Echo Park, Mexican Wine Festival At Mírate, and Perverted Waffles in DTLA

Plus, a party highlighting pan-African cuisine, a new Taiwanese cookbook by an awarded local from the San Gabriel Valley, and a Little Saigon food festival that starts tonight! Welcome back to Spot Check!

September 22, 2023

This 24-Year-Old Latina Mortician Beautifies the Dead and Influences the Living

Growing up in Arleta with a first-generation family from El Salvador, Berrios admits that her family only embraced her career choice two years ago, after she started to win awards like “Young Funeral Director of the Year.” The 24-year-old works as the licenced funeral director and embalmer at Hollywood Forever cemetery. As a young person born in peak Generation Z, she's documented her deathcare journey on TikTok and has accrued more than 43K followers on the platform. 

September 21, 2023

Meet ‘Carnitas Rogelio,’ The Family-Run Stand With The Best Michoacán-Style Carnitas O.C. Has to Offer

Michoacán-raised Rogelio Gonzalez slices the cuerito (the pig skin) in a checkered pattern to ensure a light crunch in each bite and utilizes every part of the pig, from the feet to the liver and intestines, which he binds together in a braid. 

September 20, 2023

‘The Office’ Star Rainn Wilson Brought Jerk Chicken Tacos to the Picket Lines Outside of Paramount Studios

In three hours, D's Tipsy Tacos and her team passed out “roughly 100 plates” of tacos, burritos, rice, beans, nachos, and quesadillas to striking screenwriters and actors.

September 19, 2023

Five Common Plants to Avoid When Creating Your Green Spaces in L.A.

Almost every time I visit a property with landscaping issues, the problem starts with bad design: the wrong plants in the wrong place. Here's advice from a third-generation L.A. landscaper and noted taco expert.

September 19, 2023
See all posts