Family Says Deputies Beat Grandpa to Death

     RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) – Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies pepper sprayed and beat a grandfather to death as he waited to pick up his granddaughter from Norco High School, the family claims in court.
     The late Dennis Katz’s widow, Ester Katz, and his daughter Tracey Katz sued Riverside County, its Sheriff’s Department, sheriff’s Officer T. Warburg and other unidentified officers, in Superior Court.
     The Katzes claim Warburg and others pepper-sprayed and beat Dennis Katz to death on Sept. 22, 2011. He died early the next day. He was 68.
     They say the grandpa was parked legally on Norco High School property, waiting to pick up his granddaughter, when “RCSD deputies arrived and began to question Mr. Katz while he was seated within his vehicle. He was then ordered to exit the vehicle for unknown reasons.”
     Katz’s widow says her husband “did not attempt to flee, he made no threatening or furtive gestures toward the deputies or any other persons, he made no threatening statements toward the deputies, and he was not carrying any weapon of any type.”
     Nonetheless, the Katzes say, Warburg and other deputies sprayed him with oleoresin capsicum and “struck [him] repeated on his forearms, elbows, legs and the top of his head. As a result, Mr. Katz collapsed, unable to stand and writhing in pain, as he was completely helpless from having been struck by numerous blows to the body. Mr. Katz was then dragged to the rear of his vehicle, where he was then handcuffed. Sometime soon after that point in time, Norco Fire Department returned to find Mr. Katz unresponsive and not breathing. He expired as a result of the oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray and severe trauma, including multiple contusions, lacerations and anterolateral rib fractures.”
     Before he was beaten to death, the family says, a Norco Fire Department emergency response team medically evaluated him, thinking he needed medical aid. Then the Fire Department left, and “shortly after, RCSD deputies arrived”.
     The family says Katz was medically and physically handicapped, but does not elucidate the nature of his handicaps. The complaint does not state whether the deputies beat him to death with their fists or with clubs.
     The family seeks punitive damages for wrongful death and civil rights violations. They are represented by Franklin Casco Jr., of Costa Mesa.

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