Deputies Paralysed Schizophrenic Man After Jail Fight

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A schizophrenic man who was paralyzed in a caught-on-video incident at the Riverside jail has sued the sheriff’s department claiming that jail staff broke his spine while handling him roughly after he was beaten by another inmate.

David Manzo, 34, of Perris, is now quadriplegic and will require 24-hour medical care for the rest of his life, according to his lawsuit, filed Wednesday.

Manzo was injured in the common area at the Riverside jail in October. The entire incident was captured on jail security cameras, and footage was released by Manzo’s attorneys.

In the video, an inmate with a mohawk can be seen fighting with Manzo, grabbing his shirt and trading punches. The two inmates then topple to the ground, just as jail staff flash the security lights, sending all of the prisoners back to their cells.
Screenshot from a video of a Riverside Jail incident

Screenshot from a video of a Riverside Jail incident that eventually left an inmate paralyzed. (Photo: Riverside Jail security video)

The inmate with the mohawk gets up and walks away. Manzo doesn’t. He is alone on the floor for two full minutes before seven deputies enter the common room.

Two deputies take the other inmate into custody, and the rest attend to Manzo, who appears limp on the jail floor. The deputies lift Manzo by the back of his shirt, propping him into a sitting position with his legs folded awkwardly beneath him.

The deputies then lay Manzo back on the floor, at which point he distinctly moves his right arm, showing that he has not yet been paralyzed.

Three deputies then grab Manzo under his arms, trying to hoist him to his feet, but he drops back on to the floor again. The deputies then try to lift Manzo two more times – once into a seat at a common area table, once in a sitting position on the floor – but he is unable to support his own weight. Lying on his back, Manzo distinctly moves his head to look toward his feet, but does not move any of his limbs. A deputy notices the other inmates watching through the windows of their cells and shoos them away.\

Eight minutes after Manzo first falls to the ground, deputies hoist him into a wheelchair and push him out of view of the camera.

The lawsuit claims the jail staff caused “catastrophic injury” to Manzo’s spine.

“No cervical collar was placed on Manzo, nor was a backboard utilized to prevent damage to Manzo’s spine,” the lawsuits states. “Video of the incident shows deputies trying numerous times to pick up Manzo only for Manzo to slump back awkwardly to the floor, clearly lacking any ability to move his four limbs after having been picked up by the deputies.”

Due to Manzo’s severe disability, the lawsuit threatens to be exceedingly expensive for the sheriff’s department. In 2014, the county was ordered to pay $7.8 million after a deputy shot an unarmed man in the face, leaving him fully disabled.

Riverside County has not yet responded to Manzo’s lawsuit in court.

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