FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – Fresno police drowned a man by Tasering and hogtying him, then sticking a garden hose “onto (his) face and mouth” when he pleaded for water, the man’s two children claim in Federal Court.
The two minor children, I.R. and H.R., claim that in the summer of 2011 Fresno police restrained their father, Raul Rosas, at a friend’s house while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
The children say their father was not armed and “had not committed a crime.”
After an altercation with a John Doe officer, police pepper-sprayed Rosas and then Tasered him a “countless number of times,” the complaint states.
The children claim their father was Tasered “for eight to ten more minutes,” then he was “hogtied with his ankles tied to his handcuffs behind his back.”
The complaint continues: “Decedent was then slammed onto a table in the residence’s backyard face down. An officer was observed with his knee on decedent’s back while decedent was hogtied, handcuffed, and face down.
“Decedent stated that he couldn’t breathe and that he needed water; an officer ran water from a hose onto decedent’s face and mouth to the point of making it more difficult for decedent to breathe. Decedent tried to move his mouth away from the water and gasp for air. A witness yelled ‘He can’t breathe, you’re drowning him,’ but the officer continued running water over decedent’s face.
“After turning the water off, the Doe Officer(s) continued to press his knee against decedent’s back and continued to put pressure on it. Witnesses repeatedly asked officers to let decedent get up because he couldn’t breathe, but their cries for help were ignored.
“By now there were in excess of 15 deputies and officers on the scene.
“After some time passed, decedent had clear spit bubbles coming out of his mouth.
“Witnesses yelled at officers that decedent was not breathing and pointed to the clear spit bubbles but again were ignored. Doe officer claimed decedent was ‘faking it.'”
“Officers, after much pleading from witnesses, checked decedent’s pulse and discovered he had stopped breathing after not feeling anything when they touched decedent’s neck.
“Decedent had his handcuffs taken off and was untied and placed on his back on the ground. After some time had passed, an officer started doing chest compressions but none of the officers administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the decedent. Ultimately a witness at the scene administered CPR to decedent.
“Some time later, an ambulance arrived and took over trying to revive decedent.”
Rosas’ children are represented by Brian Claypool of Pasadena.
They seek punitive damages for wrongful death, unreasonable search and seizure, due process violations, supervisory liability, negligence, battery, and violation of the Bane Act.
The sued through their guardians, Claudia and Nora Nava.
Named as defendants are the City of Fresno, the County of Fresno, and Does 1-10.
The City of Fresno did not immediately respond to a request for comment.