‘It’s Worse Than a Wrongful Death.’ Family of Brain-Damaged Man Sues Sacramento Police

The family of a man left with the mental capacity of a preschooler after a March encounter with Sacramento police has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the city.

The suit stems from a March 6 incident in which police responded to the parking lot of the Rite Aid in the 1100 block of Alhambra Boulevard, where John Hernandez, 34, was reported to be belligerent and attempting to fight passers-by.

The suit alleges that after a foot chase, officers used their Tasers “upwards of nine” times on Hernandez, hit him repeatedly in the back and neck with batons and used their body weight to hold him down.

“This person was perfectly healthy when he came into contact with police,” said attorney John Burris, who filed the federal suit Friday on behalf of the the wife and 8-year-old daughter of Hernandez. “He came away with significant brain damage.”

Sacramento city spokeswoman Linda Tucker said the city had not yet seen the suit and could not comment.

On that March afternoon, a responding officer found Hernandez sitting on the curb, based on police accounts and video footage released by the city. Hernandez fled when a second officer arrived and ran inside a nearby Sutter medical facility. Officers pursued Hernandez and caught him in a narrow back hall, where three officers initially attempted to restrain him.

The officers tackled Hernandez and were met with “violent resistance,” according to a recent report by the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability, which reviewed the incident.

Four additional officers soon arrived and attempted to restrain Hernandez during a confrontation that lasted three and a half minutes, according to the OPSA report.

Officers eventually handcuffed Hernandez and said he was alert and conscious when he was detained, but he quickly stopped breathing and became unresponsive.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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