Lawsuit Accuses Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Vernon Police of Excessive Force by Hogtying

At the center of many lawsuits, hogtying, a highly controversial restraint practice also referred to as appendage restraint procedure, was banned in the late 1990s. However, law enforcement officers throughout Los Angeles are permitted to tie a suspect’s feet to detain him or her under certain circumstances.

A recent Los Angeles Times article reports that the mother of a man who is in a “minimally conscious” state has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Vernon police, alleging that their combative arrest is to blame for her son’s condition. The arrest took place in 2008 and the man continues to reside at a rehabilitation center since he cannot speak or move, but can only open his eyes. The man’s mother wishes to obtain $1 million for medical care costs in addition to future medical costs of $731,393 a year, as well as other damages.

The events of the man’s arrest began when he climbed on top of a van and broke its windshield, ignored orders from police, and headed towards the officers as he punched the air. A stun gun was used on the man several times, once after he was on the ground. It is being argued that the officers then handcuffed the man, hobbled his legs, and after he continued to try and move his body, clipped his hobbled legs to his cuffed hands behind his back. It was at this point in the man’s restraint that he stopped breathing and experienced cardiac arrest. His heart was revived by paramedics but he was never able to fully recover consciousness.

In asserting that they were dealing with an “irrational, combative suspect” who was not following orders and may have posed a danger to bystanders, the officers are being accused of violating department policy by hogtying the man after he’d been shot with a stun gun, leaving him on his stomach, and failing to watch his breathing. One deputy is being accused of further restricting the man’s breathing by placing his complete weight on his back while he was handcuffed.

At Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, our Los Angeles assault victim attorneys have the legal experience and skills necessary to successfully handle police brutality and excessive force injury and fatality cases. Committed to protecting the rights of our clients, we work tirelessly to obtain full and just compensation from negligent parties. For more information about how we can help, call 213-514-8332 today for a free consultation.