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Family Awarded $13.5M In 2019 LAPD-Related Death Of Father

According to the suit, Jacob Cedillo was sitting on the sidewalk outside a Van Nuys gas station on April 8, 2019, at about 4:15 a.m. when police were called. Officers responded, immediately putting Cedillo in handcuffs even though he had not broken the law, according to the complaint.

4:33 PM PDT on October 16, 2023

    A federal jury has awarded damages of $13.5 million to the family of a man who died four years ago after two Los Angeles police officers threw him to the ground and put their full body weight on him even though he had not broken the law, according to court papers obtained Monday.

    The jury in downtown Los Angeles reached the decision Friday, finding that officers Dustin Richmond and Joseph Hunt used excessive force against Jacobo Cedillo, 50, violating his constitutional rights. The jury also found that the city of Los Angeles had not adequately trained the officers.

    A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said the department had no comment on the verdict.

    Cedillo's daughter, Nicole Zelaya, sued the city in 2020 for civil rights violations, inadequate training, and other allegations.

    According to the suit, Cedillo was sitting on the sidewalk outside a Van Nuys gas station on April 8, 2019, at about 4:15 a.m. when police were called. Officers responded, immediately putting Cedillo in handcuffs even though he had not broken the law, according to the complaint.

    Cedillo told officers he was waiting for the bus and not feeling well, and when they attempted to go through the man's pockets, a brief struggle ensued. Zelaya alleges that at this point, the two officers threw Cedillo to the ground, and the man almost immediately lost consciousness and lay motionless on the asphalt.

    Paramedics treated Cedillo at the scene and transported him to a nearby hospital, where he died days later from cardiopulmonary arrest, loss of blood flow to the brain, and effects of methamphetamine, court papers show.

    The LAPD said soon after the death that a preliminary test at the hospital indicated the presence of methamphetamine in Cedillo's system. The officers were found by LAPD not to be in violation of any department rules, the plaintiffs said.

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