A Fullerton police officer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force in the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man who died after a police arrest. Another officer charged with second-degree murder, a more serious offense, continued his arraignment date.
The death of Kelley Thomas, a homeless man, has received national attention. Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia, was beaten by members of the Fullerton Police Department during an altercation and died five days later. Thomas was unarmed at the time of the beating.
In California, manslaughter is codified under California Penal Code Section 192. The penal code defines manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of three kinds: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular.
Involuntary manslaughter is defined as an unlawful killing that takes place:
1. During the commission of an unlawful act (not amounting to a felony), or
2. During the commission of a lawful act which involves a high risk of death or great bodily harm that is committed without due caution or circumspection.
What are the punishments for involuntary manslaughter in California?
A conviction of involuntary manslaughter in California carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in California State Prison.
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