$5.75M Settlement in California Over Marine Veteran’s Death

January 24, 2020

The city of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $5.75 million to the parents of a Marine veteran who died after police jolted him six times with a stun gun during a 2014 confrontation.

The City Council unanimously approved a lawsuit settlement for the family of Michael Frederick Mears, the Los Angeles Times reported this week.

Mears, 39, went into cardiac arrest about an hour after he was detained on Christmas Eve and died two days later. The county coroner’s report ruled that Mears died from ventricular dysrhythmia from an enlarged heart but cited the use of the Taser and cocaine intoxication as contributing factors, the Times said.

Police had been called to Mears’ south Los Angeles home by his roommate, who said Mears was having a paranoid episode. Police used pepper spray and batons before an officer jolted the 305-pound Mears with a Taser six times in three minutes, records showed.

“The death was ruled a homicide by the coroner because of the electronic restraint procedure,” Brian Dunn, an attorney for the family, told the paper. “The officer with the Taser applied it for 32 seconds at one point.”

In 2017, a federal jury found that officers had used excessive and unreasonable force. The panel awarded the family $5.5 million.

“It is very hard on the family members, all this time waiting for justice. The trial was ever so tough for them, but when the city appeals and drags it out for two years, it is particularly painful,” Dunn said.

Attorneys for the city declined to comment on the settlement Wednesday, the Times reported.

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