The family of a motor cycle club member who was Tasered to death by the San Jose Police has filed a $20 Million dollar federal court lawsuit against the City of San Jose, its police chief and the company that made the electric stun gun. The lawsuit alleges that Steve Salinas, 47, was beaten excessively and Tasered to death despite the fact that he was unarmed and did not resist. The suit also accuses charges that police training and policies encourage racial profiling and violence against those racially profiled. The incident occurred over one year ago and police involved have continued to maintain that Salinas did resist arrest and that they used appropriate police procedures restrain him.
The county coroner’s office ruled that Salinas, who apparently had a pre-existing heart condition, died of cardiopulmonary arrest during a violent physical struggle while under the influence of PCP. The medical examiner opined that the Taser stunning was an “other significant condition,” but fell short of saying that it was a contributing factor to his death.
Since 2004, there have been many similar incidents involving Tasers, citizens and the San Jose Police; 5 deaths have occurred and similar lawsuits have been filed. San Jose police say that Tasers are appropriate when dealing with violent suspects and have cut down on injuries and the use of firearms. In the Salinas case, a previous criminal investigation by the district attorney’s office resulted in no criminal charges being filed against the officers.
The family’s attorney, Dale Galipo, said “The use of excessive force against individuals by police officers is totally out of control…Since police officers are virtually never criminally prosecuted or disciplined for using excessive force, even when the force results in an individual’s death, the only recourse the family has is to file a civil rights lawsuit against the involved police officers and the involved policy agency.”
I don’t know Mr. Galipo, but I have to agree with him. It is ludicrous for local government agencies to investigate and prosecute the conduct of “one of their own”; it is, in my humble opinion, a conflict in interest. There have been many instances where a finding of no criminal responsibility, with or without criminal charges being filed or a criminal trial being held, has not prevented the filing of a civil lawsuit and/or the award of substantial money damages (remember O.J.?).
Police Misconduct or Brutality cases are difficult cases that often result in serious injury or death to the victims. Lawsuit Financial has provided legal finance to several victims of police misconduct and has particular expertise in evaluating and funding these types of cases. For a free case funding analysis of your police misconduct or police brutality lawsuit, or any other type of personal injury lawsuit, please call us toll free, at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) or visit us on the web at www.lawsuitfinancial.com.