LOS ANGELES -- At least five police officers are under investigation after a woman died during a violent arrest in which an officer kicked her genitals, police officials said.

Alesia Thomas, 35, died July 22.

The confrontation with officers occurred after she abandoned her 3-year-old and 12-year-old children at a police station around 2 a.m. and they wandered inside, drawing the attention of an officer, police said.

"The officer said, `Hey, what are you kids doing here?' They said, `Well our mom doesn't want us anymore. She dropped us off at the police station,'" Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman, told KTTV. Smith said the children told the officers they hadn't eaten for a couple of days.

Police Cmdr. Bob Green told the Times that the woman was giving up the children because she was a drug addict who could not care for them.

Beck wants to investigate whether she was intoxicated at the time of the altercation, or if her death may have been caused by a medical condition.

Police tracked down the South Los Angeles resident and were trying to arrest her on suspicion of child endangerment, police said. The incident was caught on a patrol car camera.

A Police Department press release at the time said Thomas "put up a violent struggle" and that "she began actively resisting arrest, attempting to pull away from the officers."

One officer knocked her to the ground by sweeping her legs out from beneath her and two other officers then handcuffed Thomas behind her back and attempted to lead her to a patrol car, according to the department's official report. Two other officers also arrived at the scene.

Green said Thomas was a large woman and officers used a "hobble restraint device" – a strap that was wrapped around her ankles.

Green confirmed to the Times that during the struggle to get Thomas into the back of the patrol car, a female officer threatened to kick Thomas in the genitals and then did so.

Once Thomas was in the car, the video showed her breathing shallowly until she drew her last breath.

A neighbor awakened by the noise described Thomas as the aggressor and said he did not see officers do anything wrong, the Times said.

Gerald McCrary Sr., 55, said he saw Thomas break free from plastic handcuffs and officers then put her in metal handcuffs and tried to calm her down as she sat against a wall.

"They were talking to her, asking her to calm down, that everything will be all right," McCrary said.

He said officers brought Thomas water to drink and she told them, "My heart hurts. I can't walk anymore."

Thomas was taken downstairs from the apartment complex with one officer on each arm, according to McCrary, who later followed and saw Thomas in a police car "shaking her head against the back seat." At a later point he saw her lying on a sidewalk as paramedics arrived.

McCrary's live-in caregiver, Charmaine Hood, told the Times that the officers were trying to help Thomas.

"I didn't see them try to harm her in any shape or fashion," Hood said. "I seen them protect her from hurting herself."

In a separate incident that was also videotaped, two officers were shown slamming a handcuffed woman to the ground. Beck announced Wednesday that he was transferring a captain from his command in response to that incident.

Also on HuffPost:

Browse Los Angeles sousveillance videos from 1992 to the present to see the big role individuals have played in reforming powerful institutions.
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  • Rodney King

    In this 1991 video, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/28/us/rodney-king-profile/" target="_hplink">Rodney King is beaten</a> by a group of police officers. It is known as one of the most infamous police brutality cases, and the acquittal of the officers involved, one year later, sparked the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/la-riots/" target="_hplink">Los Angeles riots</a>.

  • William Cardenas

    In this 2006 video,<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/10/AR2006111001666.html" target="_hplink"> William Cardenas is seen being beaten by two LAPD officers</a>. Cardenas was reportedly resisting arrest after being seen drinking a beer on the sidewalk. The use of excessive force was deemed appropriate, but led to national news coverage of Copwatch initiatives.

  • May Day Melee

    This 2007 video was filmed at a May Day rally in MacArthur Park where undocumented immigrants were rallying for amnesty. Approximately 600 LAPD, both in helicopters and on the ground, began to descend on the area after declaring the event an unlawful assembly.

  • May Day Melee

    In response to the excessive force used by the LAPD at the May Day Melee, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa personally oversaw the investigation and Police Chief William Bratton announced an attempt at reorganizing the LAPD. The city was ordered to pay <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/05/local/me-lapd-settlement5" target="_hplink">$12.85 million in a class action lawsuit</a> to the people who were hurt.

  • City Bus Abuse

    From the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsW23kbVLs0" target="_hplink">UnivisionNews1</a> channel on YouTube: <blockquote>A cell phone camera caught the moment when an LAPD officer struck a mentally ill woman aboard a city bus. They were called in after she displayed erratic behavior. Civil rights activists argue he used excessive force and demand an investigation.</blockquote>

  • Hollywood Blvd Counter-Protest

    In this 2008 video, counter-protesters along the sidewalks gathered on Hollywood Boulevard as the Minuteman civilian border patrol group marched in the streets. When counter-protesters tried to join in the march, police stopped them because they did not have a permit, while the Minutemen did. ABC Los Angeles notes that sometimes, <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local&id=4349432" target="_hplink">the police used force</a> to keep counter-protesters from the street.

  • Diop Kamau

    In this video from <a href="http://policeabuse.com/" target="_hplink">PoliceAbuse.com</a>, we learn about Diop Kamau (also know as Don Jackson), a former Police Sergeant Detective with the Hawthorne Police Department who went undercover to expose racism and violence in his own police department. Kamau went on to become the founder and executive director of the Police Complaint Center and the CEO of PoliceAbuse.com. Kamau has made it his mission to identify, investigate and reform police misconduct.

  • Donovan Jackson

    In this 2002 video by Mitchell Crooks, officers from both the LA County Sheriff's Department and the Inglewood Police Department are seen using excessive force against Donovan Jackson, a 16-year-old who suffers from a developmental disability. Jackson's father's car was unregistered, which is why the police stopped them. The video begins with Donovan face down, handcuffed on the asphalt. Moments later he is unconscious due to the way the officers were pulling on the chain he was wearing. This case had major reverberations throughout Inglewood. Following the trial of the police officers, two white police officers filed a discrimination suit against the city for being treated more harshly than their black counterparts. <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2005/mar/08/local/me-donovan8" target="_hplink">They won $2.4 million</a>. <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E3DC163CF93AA35750C0A9639C8B63&ref=donovanjackson" target="_hplink">Donovan's family eventually settled</a> with the City of Inglewood for an undisclosed sum. The City of Inglewood and LA County never admitted any wrongdoing or liability.

  • Kelly Thomas

    In this 2011 video,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/kelly-thomas-death-police-charged_n_974237.html" target="_hplink"> Kelly Thomas is seen beaten to death</a> by members of the Fullerton Police Department who were responding to the scene after someone called in a robbery. Officer Ramos can be heard saying, <a href="http://documents.latimes.com/charges-kelly-thomas-police/" target="_hplink">"Now see my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up,"</a> to Thomas before beating him. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/kelly-thomas-death-police-charged_n_974237.html" target="_hplink">Ramos was later charged with murder</a>. Cpl. Jay Cicinelli faces manslaughter charges. A trial is pending.