Family of Slain OC Jail Inmate Wins $2.1 Million From County

Categories: Breaking News
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On March 25, 2008, Jason Jesus Gomez, 35, who was in custody for a probation violation and had been off his medication for several days, began attacking jail employees. As he was being restrained, Gomez repeatedly claimed he couldn't breath. Deputies soon realized Gomez was right when he literally stopped breathing. He died several days later at a hospital when he was taken off life support.

Now, according to a story in today's Orange County Register, his family has won a $2.1 million legal settlement from the county.

Gomez was just one of several inmates to be injured or who died inside Orange County jails after being tasered while already handcuffed or otherwise restrained. Specifically, Gomez perished after being placed in a wheelchair used to restrain uncooperative prisoners, apparently because one of the guards was pushing his head down. "He said, 'I can't breathe,' several times," claims the family's attorney, Jerry Steering. "They said, 'If you can talk you can breathe."

From the Register story, it's easy to see why the guards placed Gomez in the chair. The fracas started when Gomez, who had just been transferred to the jail's psychiatric unit for evaluation, broke a nurse's arm. When deputies tried to place him in a straitjacket, he fought them off by throwing soapy water on the floor and using a mattress as a shield. "Gomez fought and spat at deputies, biting one jailer on the finger," the Reg reports.  He eventually was overcome and handcuffed on the floor outside his cell. He was placed in leg irons, put in a wheelchair and fitted with a spit mask. "

Because of Gomez' death and others, the Orange County Sheriff's Department later prohibited the use of tasers against prisoners who have been handcuffed or otherwise restrained. "Steering praised Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and her staff for "attempting to reform the culture of violence and cruelty practiced by jail deputies" under the former administration," the paper concluded, a reference to disgraced ex-sheriff Mike Carona, now serving time in federal prison.

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7 comments
Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

I am wondering what damages the family of the prisoner killed by other inmates at Theo Lacey will "win"?The guy was in pretrial confinement was beat to death by inmates at the advise of a deputy for (allegedly) being a "chester".

Ondgo247
Ondgo247

""Family of Slain OC Jail Inmate Wins $2.1 Million From County""

Awarded...yes.     Wins?   No.

Diane Bass
Diane Bass

People in county jail are treated worse than animals. There is no concern for the fact that they have medical needs or for the fact that in many cases they have not been convicted of a crime but only charged.  In this case, this man was there for a probation violation which may have been as simple as failing to call his probation officer and he died for it. Outrageous! Maybe, and I say, MAYBE this will get their attention. Probaby not though. Very sad.

Danielmbarber
Danielmbarber

People die during all sorts of stressful and strenuous activities. Sex, jogging, heart attacks while arguing, and in this case being arrested. Now we know why prison gaurds make so much money, cause they are also supposed to be doctors.

Najibfrank
Najibfrank

It is unbelievable, but tasers are actually legal in Ca. I am a security consultant for Vigilant Protection Group, www.vpgsecurity.com. We provide security guard service in Orange County and Los Angeles. Believe it or not, but in California a security guard needs a license to use tear gas, but not to use a taser.  The officers should have been trained that an inmate is still a human being. He should not have been tasered when in handcuffs. They should also have been trained in recognizing the signs of heart failure.

That being said the guards in jails have a hard job. they deal with the worst of the worst day in and day out. Nevertheless, they should always preserve their humanity.

Otribj.
Otribj.

A lot of good 2.1 mil, is going to do Jason, but his family can party on.

Latriallawyer
Latriallawyer

"We the People" must keep "The People" in charge, accountable.  Our system allows for money only.

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