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Tased again and again in Vista parking lot

County pays $3 million for deputy's aggressiveness

The County of San Diego has agreed to pay $3 million in damages to a man who suffered a severe brain injury and multiple amputations after a Sheriff's deputy repeatedly fired his taser at him during a June 2014 incident.

As first reported by the Reader in February of this year, Marcial Torres agreed to settle his lawsuit against the county and Sheriff's deputy Dylan Haddad.

On that night in June 2014 dispatch received a call from a woman in Vista claiming that a group of Hispanic men threatened her. Before the threat, Torres was at the woman's house visiting her son. He left on foot shortly before the call had been made.

Deputy Haddad later spotted Torres in a nearby parking lot and suspected Torres was one of the males who had threatened the woman. As Haddad approached, according to the May 2015 lawsuit, Torres threw a glass object on the ground and continued to walk away from the deputy. Haddad responded by tasing Torres three times. Torres collapsed. His heart stopped. Haddad, according to the complaint, then fired several more charges into Torres' body.

Video cameras at the scene reportedly show Haddad had unholstered his stun gun before approaching Torres.

Reads the May 2015 complaint, "Haddad then repeatedly and relentlessly tased Torres, despite Torres begging for mercy, 'Stop, stop, stop!' Torres stopped breathing. Deputy Haddad did not render any aid to Torres. [Deputy] Chase Fisher saw Torres blue in the face and foaming but failed to render aid. Vista paramedics finally arrived, resuscitated Torres, and transported him to Tri-City Hospital. Torres remained in critical condition for several weeks, falling into a vegetative state."

Torres spent five months in a coma, had both legs and several fingers amputated, and suffered severe loss of brain function as a result of the altercation.

On April 3, 2017 federal court judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo dismissed the case with prejudice, ordering that each party bearing their own costs. In a follow-up call, an attorney for Torres confirmed the $3 million settlement amount.

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The County of San Diego has agreed to pay $3 million in damages to a man who suffered a severe brain injury and multiple amputations after a Sheriff's deputy repeatedly fired his taser at him during a June 2014 incident.

As first reported by the Reader in February of this year, Marcial Torres agreed to settle his lawsuit against the county and Sheriff's deputy Dylan Haddad.

On that night in June 2014 dispatch received a call from a woman in Vista claiming that a group of Hispanic men threatened her. Before the threat, Torres was at the woman's house visiting her son. He left on foot shortly before the call had been made.

Deputy Haddad later spotted Torres in a nearby parking lot and suspected Torres was one of the males who had threatened the woman. As Haddad approached, according to the May 2015 lawsuit, Torres threw a glass object on the ground and continued to walk away from the deputy. Haddad responded by tasing Torres three times. Torres collapsed. His heart stopped. Haddad, according to the complaint, then fired several more charges into Torres' body.

Video cameras at the scene reportedly show Haddad had unholstered his stun gun before approaching Torres.

Reads the May 2015 complaint, "Haddad then repeatedly and relentlessly tased Torres, despite Torres begging for mercy, 'Stop, stop, stop!' Torres stopped breathing. Deputy Haddad did not render any aid to Torres. [Deputy] Chase Fisher saw Torres blue in the face and foaming but failed to render aid. Vista paramedics finally arrived, resuscitated Torres, and transported him to Tri-City Hospital. Torres remained in critical condition for several weeks, falling into a vegetative state."

Torres spent five months in a coma, had both legs and several fingers amputated, and suffered severe loss of brain function as a result of the altercation.

On April 3, 2017 federal court judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo dismissed the case with prejudice, ordering that each party bearing their own costs. In a follow-up call, an attorney for Torres confirmed the $3 million settlement amount.

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Comments
2

Wait! I'm confused by this story. The last paragraph, while poorly written, indicates the case against the County was dismissed with prejudice. Yet the last sentence states there was a settlement. So this story is really about tactical decisions made by the County Counsel to settle the case out-of-court rather than going to trial and letting a jury decide the matter.

While a majority of this story paints the incident in a negative light we'll never get the whole story. In my opinion, now that the case has been dismissed, with prejudice. The Reader could serve its readers by doing a deep dive into the details. What I mean is the thinking and tactic by the Deputies, and the reasoning by the County Counsel to avoid going to trial.

While the latter typically has to do with what a jury "might or could" award and I suppose Counsel believes they are looking out for the taxpayer's interest, maybe it's time these cases were tried in public court to expose the behaviors and actions of all the parties involved.

May 28, 2017

JW: Thanks for the comment, and apologies for the confusion. The dismissal arrived as a result of the settlement. I was only trying to establish a timeline by including the dismissal part. Torres agreed to a $3 million settlement. It is unclear when County supervisors approved the agreement, as they did not respond to my requests for additional info. I should say I contacted them on the Thursday before a holiday weekend, so maybe that was the reason. I assume they will respond this week with additional details.

As for your other comment about digging deeper into this story, I agree. Many of my stories are meant to be quick news items, thus the story above. That said I will see what I can do when I get more information on the settlement.

Thanks for reading and for the comment. I appreciate the feedback.-dH

May 29, 2017

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