Mother Says LAPD Beat Her Son to Death


LOS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles jailers beat, choked and Tasered a man to death without cause in the 77th Street jail, his mother claims in court.
     Irma Howard sued the City of Los Angeles, its Police Chief Charlie Beck, and seven police officers and supervisors for the wrongful death of her son, Vachel Howard, in Federal Court.
     Howard claims the seven officer defendants "Tased, physically restrained, fatally choked to death, (and/or ratified these actions)."
     She claims: "While being held in custody at the Los Angeles Police Department 77th Street Area Regional Jail Facility ('77th Street Jail') Mr. Howard was Tased over five times, thrown to the ground, physically restrained by multiple officers, placed in a hobble restraint and handcuffed and then placed in a fatal choke hold, all while possibly suffering from cardiac arrest. Mr. Howard posed no imminent threat of death or physical injury to the officers present, or to anyone else. The use of deadly forces against Mr. Howard by defendants under these circumstances was both unconstitutional and violated clearly established law that would have been known to any reasonable police officer."
     Howard claims the officers' actions knowingly reckless and malicious.
     The lawsuit does not state why Howard was in jail.
     The family seeks compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations.
     Defendants include LAPD Officers Richard Fox, Maryann Bunag and Jorge Noriega, Det. Louis Zorilla, Detention Officers Juan Romero and Miguel Sanchez, and Principal Detention Officer Reynaldo Tenort.
     The Howard family is represented by Gregory Yates of Encino.
     (Two other lawsuits on today's CNS page accuse police of Tasering people to death, in Arizona and Texas. See column 4.)