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$700,000 Settlement in California Police Shooting Suit

The City of Napa, California settled a federal lawsuit over the November 28, 2010, shooting by police of an unarmed 60-year old man.

Police were asked to check on the welfare of Richard Poccia. They were told he was in the midst of a severe mental crisis and suicidal. Responding officers deployed themselves a half block from his residence. He allegedly complied with their instructions to turn around, remove clothing and walk backward. Police reports state he was calm and compliant but his gait was unsteady and he was off balance. Nonetheless, he was shot in the head with an AR-15 automatic rifle and died. A search revealed that he had no firearm, but turned up a small, pink pocket knife.

Survivors and his estate filed a federal civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the city and various police officers. Police alleged Poccia had a 0.32 blood alcohol level, was under the influence of Methadone, Diphenyldramine, and withdrawing from Klonopin use. According to defendants, Poccia became aggressive and refused commands when police closed on him, intending to use a taser to subdue him.

Defendants settled the suit for $700,000. Plaintiffs were represented by San Francisco attorneys Khaldoun A. Baghdadi, Michael A. Kelly and Andrew P. McDevitt. See: Dorger v. City of Napa, U.S.D.C.-N.D. Cal., Case No. 3:12-CV-00440-WHQ.

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Related legal case

Dorger v. City of Napa