The family of an El Cajon man who died last Christmas Eve while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the agency. In the lawsuit, the family alleges the victim was stunned excessively with a TASER and then thoroughly beaten.
The 40-year-old man was reportedly returning home after visiting his father in Mexico when he was stopped and detained at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Customs officials kept him in custody for more than four hours, likely because the man had violated parole by leaving the country. He had a history of drug-related offenses in his past.
In the lawsuit, the family claims an unknown number of officers used a TASER on the man numerous times, an then held him down to beat him with their fists and hands. The man was eventually hogtied with a gag placed in his mouth for at least eight minutes. He later died at a hospital.
Authorities claim the man attempted to escape and fight them when they moved to arrest him with a valid warrant, and the ensuing struggle made the use of force necessary. An autopsy did reveal seven different marks consistent with the use of a TASER, and concluded the man died from cardiac arrest caused by being restrained facedown, being hit with multiple TASER shots and being intoxicated by heroin and methamphetamine. The FBI has launched a more detailed investigation into the incident.
In the lawsuit, the family seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial.
If you believe your loved one was injured or killed in custody because of unnecessary use of force, speak with a skilled San Diego wrongful death attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire as soon as possible.