The sister of a Raton man who died in police custody has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.As the item notes, the officers involved have been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter.
Jesse Saenz, 23, died in November 2007 after Raton police restrained him by firing a Taser and sitting on his lower back.
An autopsy found that Saenz died of cocaine intoxication. But the report also concluded that the actions of police officers played a contributing role in his death.
The officers then gave Saenz a "bump tase," in which the Taser was applied directly, rather than firing a dart, to the back of the neck area between the shoulders, according to the complaint.
Edmondson then ordered both Baca and Dominguez to deploy full Tasers, and the weapons were fired 23 times over the course of a few minutes, the complaint states. The officers later told New Mexico State Police investigators that they believed their Tasers, which deliver 50,000 volts, malfunctioned the night of the incident.
Saenz was placed face down on the back seat of Baca's police car, whereupon Dominguez sat on Saenz's neck and upper back, then later his lower back and hips, the complaint states.
"Dominguez held Saenz's legs towards his own chest while Saenz was handcuffed behind his back and face down on his stomach in the back seat of the patrol car," according to the suit. "This position made it virtually impossible for Saenz to breathe and increased the stress on his heart."
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Suit Filed in New Mexico Death: Man Was Tased 23 Times During 2007 Incident