The Colorado Department of Corrections will pay $3 million to the family of a mentally ill inmate who died after guards and nurses at the facility for several hours watched his fatal seizures without helping him.
Christopher Lopez, 35, who had bipolar schizoaffective disorder, died at San Carlos correctional facility in Pueblo in March 2013.
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The last six hours of Lopez’s life were caught on camera by the staff of the facility, who were laughing and joking while watching the inmate shaking from seizures which turned out fatal.
Lopez died of severe hyponatremia (low sodium-blood levels), which is treatable if medical help comes early enough.
In a highly disturbing video of the incident, Lopez is lying face down on the floor of his cell. The guards believed he was intentionally refusing to respond. Six officers in riot gear eventually dragged him out of his cell, took off his clothes, chained him to a chair and put a mask over his head.
They then watched his seizures, while chatting and joking, apparently believing the inmate was faking the condition.
“I can see you breathing,” mental health clinician Cheryl Neumeister can be seen saying to Lopez’s corpse, according to the lawsuit.
Lopez died lying in his underwear on a concrete floor.
Lopez’s mother filed a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections in June 2014 with the case resulting in a $3 million settlement for the family.
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David Lane, the lawyer for Lopez's family, said the man’s death “was caused by a mentality that the lives of prisoners are worthless," the Denver Post reported.
"Hopefully, this settlement sends a message not just to Colorado prison authorities but to prison and jail authorities all over the country that the human beings they incarcerate must be treated like human beings," he said.
Three prison employees were fired and five others were disciplined following Lopez’s death.
The Department of Corrections distanced itself from the staff who ignored the inmate’s agony in a statement on the settlement, saying the employees' actions "were well outside of the department's established training, policies and practices," AP reported.
CLEVELAND - The manner of death of a woman who died in Cleveland police custody has been ruled a homicide.
A report released Friday by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner says the woman died after she was physically restrained in a prone position. A heart condition and bipolar disorder were also factors, according to the report.
Tanisha Anderson died Nov. 12 after losing consciousness in the custody of officers while having a mental-health episode. Relatives say the 37-year-old was schizophrenic and claim an officer used excessive force.
Her family said at a news conference nearly two weeks ago that they wanted more answers about what happened and that Cleveland officers need better training on dealing with mentally ill people.
A message seeking comment was left with Cleveland police.
According to CBS affiliate WOIO, Anderson's family released a statement following the release of the medical examiner's report saying, "The family demands justice for Tanisha, a thorough criminal investigation and an independent prosecutor that results in accountability by the police officers and the Cleveland Police Department."
Two Cleveland police officers, Scott Aldridge and Bryan Meyers, had been placed on restrictive leave while the matter was being investigated.
Cleveland Safety Director and former police Chief Michael McGrath told the Northeast Ohio Media Group for a story Thursday that the city was in talks to hand investigations of deadly use-of-force cases to an outside agency, including the case of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot at a city playground by a rookie officer who apparently mistook an airsoft gun for a real firearm.
Tamir Rice's family has sued the city in federal court, saying the two officers acted recklessly when they confronted the boy.
Cleveland police have come under outside scrutiny on other cases recently as well. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department released findings from a nearly two-year investigation of the agency. The department concluded that officers use excessive and unnecessary force far too often.
Here we go again! Our people are still in captivity within this racist society.
It's getting crucial out there.
To My People: YAH is the only answer to our Deliverance from this Wicked Captivity.
Found another video!
ST.LOUIS PROTEST: ‘ARMED’ BLACK TEEN SHOT BY COP 17 TIMES - An off-duty police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, shot and killed a man after chasing him through a local neighborhood
n off-duty police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, shot and killed a man after chasing him through a local neighborhood. Citizens are marching near the site close to the Missouri Botanical Garden, chanting slogans as more officers stand by.
The dead man, an 18-year-old young African American, fired at least three rounds at the officer, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said at a news conference.
Police reported recovering a 9mm Ruger from the scene.
The 32-year-old officer was heading to his second job as a private security guard and was reportedly wearing a uniform. The police officer has served with the St. Louis force for six years.St. Louis Police Lt. Col. Alfred Adkins told reporters that the officer approached four men on the street to question them.
“As he exited the car, the gentlemen took off running. He was able to follow one of them before he lost him and then found him again as the guy jumped out of some bushes across the street,” Adkins said. “The officer approached, they got into a struggle, they ended up into a gangway, at which time the young man pulled a weapon and shots were fired. The officer returned fire and unfortunately the young man was killed.”
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