NBC Los Angeles
An undated photo of Alesia Thomas, who died in an LAPD patrol car in 2012 after a struggle with police.
Prosecutors have filed an assault charge against a Los Angeles police officer for her alleged role in a 2012 incident captured on squad-car video in which a 35-year-old mother died after a violent struggle to place her in custody.
Officer Mary Margaret O'Callaghan, a 19-year veteran of the force, is charged with assault under color of authority for kicking Alesia Thomas in the groin and stomach during the attempted arrest on July 22, 2012, which involved at least three other officers.
Assault under color of authority carries a maximum penalty of three years in state prison. Prosecutors have asked for bail of $35,000. O'Callaghan, 48, has been relieved of duty without pay and also faces possible departmental sanctions.
Prosecutors allege that O'Callaghan used criminally excessive force as she and several of her colleagues attempted to place Thomas in custody during an investigation of alleged "child abandonment."
Thomas, who according to her autopsy report suffered from drug addiction, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, had dropped off two of her children -- ages 3 and 12 -- in front of an LAPD station in South Los Angeles.
A short time later, LAPD officers caught up with Thomas at her home and she told them she could no longer take care of her children, according to a use of force report prepared by the Los Angeles Police Commission.
The report details officers struggling with the 6 foot, 228-pound woman as they attempted first to handcuff her and then place her in restraints and eventually into a squad car, where the encounter was captured on video and audio from a Digital In-Car Video System activated by the officers.