Summary: A federal court jury has awarded a $13.5 million verdict against the city of Los Angeles in a lawsuit over the death of a man who was restrained by police officers. The verdict includes a finding that the city failed to provide proper training to its officers on the risks of positional and restraint asphyxia. The ruling comes after a 2021 California law prohibited the use of certain holds that pose a risk of positional asphyxia.
The city of Los Angeles has been ordered to pay $13.5 million following a federal court jury’s verdict in a lawsuit involving the death of a man who was restrained by police officers. Jacobo Juarez Cedillo, 50, died five days after an encounter with officers in April 2019. The officers used their bodyweight to restrain him, which resulted in his death. The lawsuit was filed by Cedillo’s daughter, Nicole Juarez Zelaya.
The verdict includes a significant finding that the city of Los Angeles ‘failed to train its police officers with respect to the risks of positional and restraint asphyxia,’ according to the plaintiff’s attorneys. This ruling highlights the importance of proper training for officers in order to prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future.
In response to the verdict, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the ruling. However, the attorneys representing Cedillo’s daughter expressed hope that such verdicts would serve as a wake-up call to police departments across the country, urging them to take notice and make necessary changes to their tactics.
An examination conducted by a medical examiner determined that Cedillo’s death was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest, along with a loss of blood flow to the brain and the effects of methamphetamine. While the examiner acknowledged the possibility of asphyxia due to compression of the body, no definitive evidence was found during the autopsy to establish asphyxia as the sole cause of death. This finding indicates a complex combination of factors contributing to Cedillo’s tragic demise.
In an effort to address similar incidents in the future, California passed a law in 2021 that prohibits the use of specific face-down holds that carry a risk of positional asphyxia. This legislation aims to prevent the use of techniques that can lead to the deprivation of oxygen and potentially fatal consequences.
Tags: Los Angeles, lawsuit, police officers, restraint asphyxia, verdict, training, California law