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Federal Jury Issues $13.5M Verdict For Death Of Man Police Restrained

A federal court jury returned a $13.5 million verdict against the city of Los Angeles in a lawsuit over the death of a man after two police officers used their body weight on his back to restrain him, the Associated Press reports. Jacobo Juarez Cedillo, 50, died at a hospital five days after the April 2019 encounter with officers who found him sitting in a gas station driveway, stood him up and later took him to the ground. The suit was filed by his daughter, Nicole Juarez Zelaya. Friday’s verdict included a finding that the city “failed to train its police officers with respect to the risks of positional and restraint asphyxia,” her lawyers said. Attorney Dale Galipo said he hoped such verdicts will cause police to take notice. A medical examiner determined the death was due to cardiopulmonary arrest, along with a loss of blood flow to the brain and the effects of methamphetamine The examiner wrote that a “component of asphyxia due to possible compression of the body may be contributory to the cardiopulmonary arrest, however there are no findings at autopsy that establish asphyxia.” A 2021 California law bars police from using certain face-down holds that create risk of positional asphyxia.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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