Family of Santa Cruz man who died in jail settles with county for $3 million

Officer: Sheriff Steve Robbins and several County Jail correctional officers
Charge: excessive force, police brutality, wrongful death
Date: September 2005
Location: Santa Cruz County Jail, Santa Cruz

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel (now deleted):

SANTA CRUZ -- The family of a man who died in County Jail in September 2005 could receive $3 million in compensation from the county, according to a tentative settlement reached in federal court Thursday.

The agreement also requires the county to alter the death certificate of David Anthony Cross and send a written apology to the Cross family, said Andrew Schwartz, one of the attorneys representing the family. The county Board of Supervisors could be asked to approve the settlement as soon as Tuesday.

The civil suit was set for trial in early May.

"l think both sides realized it was in their best interest" to end the case, Schwartz said. "Everybody involved in this incident feels terrible about it, both sides. The litigation was ditticult because of the subject matter. Somebody died."

Sheriffs Sgt Fred Plageman declined to discuss the case Friday.

"The matter is still under litigation and it is inappropriate for me to comment at this time," he said.

Cross, 44, of Santa Cruz lost consciousness during a struggle with jail deputies, who were trying to restrain him after he began banging his head on his cell door and thrashing on the floor.

Court documents show during the altercation, Cross repeatedly screamed "l cant breathe" and "l'm going to die."

He stopped breathing as he was being restrained and was pronounced dead at Dominican Hospital the next evening.

County coroner Dr. Richard lvlason ruled his death accidental and a subsequent investigation by the District Attorneys Office concluded the correctional officers involved did not commit any criminal acts.

Information presented to the court by the county also states that Cross was a habitual drug and alcohol user whose own mother had described as being on "a self-destruct mission for many years." He had been arrested numerous times between 1993 and 2005 for alcohol and methamphetamine abuse, theft and violence, according to court documents. He was jailed on Sept. 1 -- the day of the struggle -- tor domestic violence and vandalism charges.

Cross’ parents, brother and daughter laterfiled a wrongful death suit against the county, Sheriff Steve Robbins and several County Jail correctional officers and medical personnel that alleged their conduct was "malicious, wanton and oppressive."

In this article in which a civil case has concluded that the Santa Cruz Sheriffs are implicated in the wrongful death of a man, note the typical attempt at justification of violence: The Sentinel and the Sheriffs attempt to blame the man for his own death at their hands, as well as portray him as a violent and self-destructive drug and alcohol offender.

In an article about a man's wrongful death, this sentence particularly stands out: "Cross was a habitual drug and alcohol user whose own mother had described as being on a self-destruct mission for many years."


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on the Bad Cop website are fully moderated. We approve comments that are informative or reflect a viewpoint we feel it is important for website visitors to read.