Mother of man who died in Hayward police custody files wrongful death suit

HAYWARD (BCN)—The mother of a man who suffered from schizophrenia and died in Hayward police custody last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Hayward and three of its officers.

The suit by Charlene Jimerson, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland last Friday, alleges that instead of providing medical care to her son, 42-year-old Eugene Jimerson Jr., after they arrested him on April 12, 2015, officers put him in a full-body restraint device and placed him in a patrol car, where he died.

Charlene Jimerson’s lawyer, EmilyRose Johns, said today that she seeks unspecified damages, accountability and a change in Hayward’s policy of using restraint devices so that no one else dies from being confined while in police custody.

Johns said Eugene Jimerson Jr. was mentally ill, suffering from severe tachycardia and in need of medical care when Hayward police officers were dispatched to conduct a welfare check on him at a shopping center at the intersection of Soto Road and Jackson Street in Hayward on April 12, 2015.

Johns said Jimerson was sweating profusely and speaking nonsensically and his heart was beating dangerously fast but officers didn’t call for medical assistance.

Instead, Officer Russell Sharrock arrested Jimerson for being under the influence of narcotics, a misdemeanor, and at the Hayward City Jail Jimerson was denied admission due to his mental health history and redirected to Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to the lawsuit.

While awaiting transport at the city jail, Jimerson continued to sweat profusely and speak nonsensically and was observed by jail staff and police officers for at least 10 minutes but was still not offered medical assistance, the suit alleges.

When leaving for the county jail, officers and city jail staff applied a WRAP restraint device — a device used to immobilize violent and combative persons — to Jimerson, which compromised his ability to breathe and further stressed his already-taxed heart, the suit says.

While traveling to the county jail, Jimerson suffered a heart attack and died in the back seat of the arresting officer’s patrol car, according to the suit.

The lawsuit contains nine causes of action, among them the use of excessive force, deliberate indifference to Jimerson’s basic medical needs and wrongful death.

The suit names the city of Hayward, Officer Sharrock and fellow Officers Raymond Eakin and Jonathan Colton as defendants.

Hayward City Manager Fran David said it would “not (be) appropriate to comment” because the matter is in litigation.

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