Home Consulate County settles death-in-custody lawsuit for $1.35 million

County settles death-in-custody lawsuit for $1.35 million

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San Diego County and other defendants have agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the mother of a deceased Mexican citizen after sheriff’s deputies in Fallbrook arrested him in 2018 , officials from the Mexican Consulate General in San Diego announced Friday.

Dolores Rosales, of Tijuana, sued the county in federal court in 2019 for allegedly using excessive force when they took her son, Marco Antonio Nápoles-Rosales, 29, into custody on August 16, 2018. According to During the trial, Fallbrook deputies used a Taser, their body weight, and a wrap-around restraint to subdue Nápoles-Rosales, whom they suspected of entering a gas station.

He lost consciousness during the arrest and was taken to hospital where he died the following day.

Carlos González Gutiérrez, Mexico’s consul general in San Diego, told a press conference at the consulate building in Little Italy that Nápoles-Rosales’ mother and the consulate were happy with the settlement and glad the lawsuit was completed. disclosed to the public the circumstances of his death. Warning.

“May this case remind us all that excessive use of force is not acceptable under any circumstances,” said González Gutiérrez. “May this case also serve as a reminder that the Consulate General of Mexico is here to protect the rights and promote the interests of Mexican nationals in our jurisdiction.”

San Diego County spokesman Michael Workman referred a request for comment to Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher. His office did not immediately respond.

An autopsy determined that Nápoles-Rosales died of sudden cardiorespiratory arrest caused by methamphetamine and exertional intoxication during the struggle with the deputies. The manner of death was undetermined. A toxicology screen found methamphetamine and amphetamines in his blood when he died.

Jesús Eduardo Arias, an attorney who works with the Mexican consulate in San Diego, represented the family in the lawsuit. He said Dolores Rosales felt too overwhelmed with emotion to show up in San Diego for the announcement.

Arias said Rosales was happy with the settlement and it gave her some peace of mind and closure. But, the attorney said, Rosales remains devastated by the loss of her child.

“There is no amount of money that can compensate for the loss of a son,” he said.

Arias said his client does not intend to seek a court order to recover court costs and county fees in addition to the $1.35 million settlement.

The eldest of three children, Nápoles-Rosales was from Sonora, Mexico. He came to the United States when he was 16. Before he died, he studied hairdressing in California and worked at El Monte barbershops. He used his earnings to support his family in Mexico. He had no criminal record.

After reviewing the death of Nápoles-Rosales, District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that no criminal charges would be filed against the deputies who used force against him.

The county sheriff’s department has been under pressure to reduce deaths in custody for years, and it has paid out millions of dollars to plaintiffs in wrongful death and civil rights lawsuits. The pressure on the department intensified after the San Diego Union-Tribune published a six-month investigation in 2019 that found the death rate in local jails was much higher than in other major California counties. .

Earlier this year, the California State Auditor released a scathing report that found 185 men and women died while incarcerated in San Diego County jails between 2006 and 2020. The audit said that conditions in San Diego prisons were so dangerous that the state legislature would have to pass legislation to impose reforms on the department.

The sheriff’s department initially rejected many of the state auditor’s findings and methodology, but has since made changes to prison operations and inmate care in an effort to prevent deaths in custody.