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California Town Pays $6 Million to Family of Mentally Ill Man Tasered by Cop

A settlement was announced on August 10, 2021, between the city of Pleasanton, California, and the family of a mentally ill man who died after a struggle with city cops trying to restrain him in 2018.

Before the incident that left their son dead, John and Rose Bauer made four visits to the Pleasanton Police Department (“PPD”) to share their concern that 38-year-old Jacob Bauer might be killed in a confrontation with police, the way two other mentally ill men had died in PPD custody the preceding two years.

But on August 1, 2018—just three days after being told not to worry at their last meeting with police in the city of almost 80,000—Jacob was reported behaving strangely and mumbling to himself inside a grocery store near his house.

Responding PPD officers at first found Bauer responsive and cooperative. But then, a few minutes later, they said he appeared to shut down, staring vacantly ahead and no longer replying to questions. The officers immediately moved to handcuff him, tackling him to the ground, where they stunned him with a Taser and punched him repeatedly. As eight cops piled atop him, he was placed in a spit mask and restrained with a full-body wrap, all the while repeating, “I can’t breathe.”

After that, he lost consciousness, and paramedics sedated him. But they were then prevented from further contact with Bauer for eight full minutes. Subsequent attempts to revive him failed, and he was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In addition to a $6 million payment to Bauer’s parents, the city agreed to send PPD Chief Gary Swing to a “listening session” with them. Their attorney, Gary Gwilliam, said that the surviving Bauers want “to try and make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

“Jacob lost his life over a few broken bottles at a grocery store,” Rose Bauer said. “I hope this settlement creates real changes to stop police from using excessive force against the mentally ill.” 

 

Sources: Associated Press, Legal Reader

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