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L.A. County Settles With Abused Quadriplegic Prisoner For $46,000

In February 2004, prisoner Joseph Burriss became exasperated waiting to make a phone call from the Los Angeles County Jail. Burriss, a partial quadriplegic, maneuvered his wheelchair towards a deputy and made a disparaging racial remark. The deputy responded by wheeling Burriss to an isolation cell. When they arrived there, Burriss claims the deputy dumped him from the chair onto the floor. The deputy claimed that Burriss was flailing his arms in an attempt to hit or grab her. She then pepper sprayed Burriss in the face and put him in the cell.

Noting that a jury would not likely find that Burriss was a danger to the deputy, the County rationalized that an unreasonable-use-of-force liability existed. Although Burriss injuries were not extensive, a settlement was reached in March 2006 for $46,000. See: Burriss v. County of Los Angeles, USDC. SD CA, Case No. CV-04-09967 RSWL.

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Burriss v. County of Los Angeles


 

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