California City accepts $ 6 million settlement in man’s death


A northern California city agreed to pay nearly $ 6 million to settle a lawsuit with the family of a mentally ill man who died in 2018 after police overpowered him and repeatedly used him, the family’s lawyer said on Tuesday.

The settlement between Pleasanton and Jacob Bauer’s family is the largest the city 40 miles east of San Francisco has paid for in its history. It includes a “listening session” between Bauer’s parents and Pleasanton Police Chief David Swing, who was named in the lawsuit, said Gary Gwilliam, the Bauer family’s attorney.

“What the Bauers want is to try to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and that their son’s life has meaning, that it is not in vain,” said Gwilliam.

Pleasanton City Attorney Daniel Sodergren confirmed the settlement in a statement, saying “the insurance company, the Bay Cities Joint Powers Insurance Authority, approved it” and had no other remark.

A press release from the Pleasanton Police Department noted that the Alameda County District Attorney cleared the officers of wrongdoing.

“The Pleasanton Police Department appreciates the sanctity of life and continues to extend its deepest condolences to the Bauer family,” the statement said.

Bauer, 38, died on August 1, 2018, after a scuffle with Pleasanton police responding to a call about a man acting erratically and talking to himself at a grocery store near his house.

Officers found Bauer outside the store, and he was cooperative, identified himself, and answered their questions. But then he seemed to stop and stared away. Within seconds, the officers handcuffed him, took him to the ground, piled him up, punched him and stacked himself on top of him while he was lying on his stomach, according to the complaint.

Bauer was also held in a full body wrap with a spit mask and at one point eight officers were leaning on him, he said.

“This asphyxiation was just as severe as that of George Floyd but done by many different police officers,” Gwilliam said.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis after a police officer continued to press his knee against Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and repeated that he could not breathe.

Video of the meeting obtained by the East Bay Times in February shows Bauer complaining repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe.

A short time later, Bauer lost consciousness. According to the coroner’s report, paramedics administered a sedative to him, but were then denied access for eight minutes. Attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital, the newspaper reported.

Before their son’s encounter with the police, Bauer’s parents John and Rose Bauer had gone to the police department four times to tell authorities they feared their son would be injured or killed if he entered. in contact with the police. They pointed out that two other mentally ill men had been killed by Pleasanton police officers in the previous two years.

The Bauers last spoke to police three days before their son died and said they were told not to worry.

Since Jacob’s death, John Bauer has been to city council meetings to talk about de-escalation training for government officials who interact with the mentally ill, Gwilliam said.

According to the regulation, the virtual “listening session” must be organized within 30 days of the signing of the regulation by all parties. The Bauers will have 10 to 20 minutes to explain what they would like to see happen when the Pleasanton cops respond to a mental health crisis. The police will then have the opportunity to talk about what has changed in the department since the death of their son.

“Jacob lost his life to a few broken bottles at a grocery store,” Rose Bauer said in a statement. “I hope this regulation will create real change to prevent the police from using excessive force against the mentally ill.”

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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