SACRAMENTO — The city of Sacramento finalized one of the largest settlement payouts in its history Tuesday, which was the result of an excessive force lawsuit against the Sacramento Police Department dating back to 2017.
More than two years after Sacramento police officers chased down then 34-year-old John Hernandez, wrestled him to the ground, used their Tasers and hit him with a baton, the city of Sacramento is now paying out to the tune of $5.2 million.
“We allege that the department had improperly used the various weapons that they used,” said civil rights attorney John Burris.
The lawsuit alleges the beating Hernandez took was excessive and left him with permanent brain damage.
He had to relearn to walk, eat and talk, and he now requires 24-hour care.
“I’m angry. I’m really angry and I’m really hurt that they would do that to him,” said his mother, Debbie, eight months after the incident.
It was March 6, 2017, when officers got a call about a man seemingly on drugs. They say he was threatening to fight people outside an East Sacramento Rite Aid, according to court documents.
After Hernandez ran from officers into a Sutter Health medical facility, three officers tried to detain him.
A witness testified Hernandez seemed to have “brute force like Superman” and would not go down.
But Burris described the pivotal moment differently.
“They were pressing down on him, trying to get control of him and, basically, he stopped breathing,” he said.
No one from the Sacramento Police Department or the city of Sacramento took questions Tuesday but a city spokesperson sent the following statement:
While under the influence of methamphetamine, John Hernandez threatened a number of citizens with violence and was a threat to the community.
Although the city and involved SPD officers dispute liability in connection with plaintiff’s claim, the parties agreed to settle in order to avoid further, protracted litigation and to eliminate the significant risk to both sides of trying this case to verdict.
FOX40 did not get to speak to the family Tuesday but their attorney said they are relieved to put this chapter behind them.