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Jun 04 2012

Cops Paralyze Man, Get New Jobs

Here’s yet another appalling case of police brutality and illegal conduct. The police department in Vallejo, California will pay more than $4 million to the victim of an illegal home invasion by two officers that led to the man being paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Today, Peter Alfert, of the law firm of Hinton, Alfert and Kahn and Todd Boley, of the Law Office of Todd Boley announced that their client, Macario Dagdagan, received a check for a $4.15 million settlement from the Vallejo Police Department, the largest police misconduct settlement in California in the past decade. The Federal Civil Rights settlement provides compensation for an unlawful entry into the home of Mr. Dagdagan that led to him sustaining serious spinal injuries and immediate paralysis.

On the evening of June 2, 2007, Officers John Boyd and Jason Wentz entered Mr. Dagdagan’s residence shortly before midnight after responding to a call. They awoke Mr. Dagdagan, who was asleep in his bed, to ask him about a citizen complaint. Mr. Dagdagan then told the officers to leave, but they arrested him, fired a Taser at him twice and handcuffed him. The police officers then engaged in illegal and violent use of force that dislodged Mr. Dagdagan’s vertebrae and ruptured his disk, causing immediate paralysis and permanent damage to his spinal cord.

Attorney Peter Alfert stated, “Our client sued because his civil rights were violated. Through this settlement, he wants to send a clear message that all of us must not tolerate police misconduct and we will hold police accountable. The police had no justification for going into the apartment, for arresting Macario, and certainly no reason to break his neck.”

On the night of the incident, after the arrest, a police sergeant arrived at Mr. Dagdagan’s apartment. He heard the victim say that his neck was broken and observed and photographed Mr. Dagdagan’s bloody face. However, neither the sergeant nor anyone in the department conducted an investigation to determine whether the officers used excessive force.

Wait, it gets worse:

Officers Boyd and Wentz were hired by the Richmond police department after the case; however, the City of Vallejo, which is currently dealing with bankruptcy that resulted from costly police pensions, will pay the $4.15 million settlement through their insurance.

The officers should be facing criminal charges. Assault and breaking and entering are still illegal even if you have a badge.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    unbound

    “However, neither the sergeant nor anyone in the department conducted an investigation to determine whether the officers used excessive force.”

    Isn’t it amazing how self-regulation of groups never seem to actually work? I assume Internal Affairs is pretty much only used for internal political disputes at this point…

  2. 2
    d cwilson

    I have to wonder where the district attorney is in all this. Just because the city settled the civil suit, doesn’t immunize the cops from their criminal liability.

  3. 3
    grizzle

    This was an all out home invasion? A criminal plan from the very get go and not just cops responding to the wrong house on a call?

    I’m not looking to justify any of it I’m just a bit confused. I’ve heard of stories in the past where cops responding to a call go into the wrong house and then trouble ensues leaving one or more people injured. But were these cops actually out to B&E?

  4. 4
    ttch

    According to San Francisco Chronicle: Vallejo settles with injured man for $4.15 million:

    In court papers, attorneys for the city said Dagdagan was intoxicated, verbally aggressive and “failed to follow even basic lawful demands.” Dagdagan had been accused of grabbing a meat cleaver, pulling his girlfriend’s hair, slamming her into a wall and threatening to kill her, the city said.

    Although Dagdagan suffered paralysis during the incident, the paralysis was not permanent. According to the above story, he now has pain and weakness in his extremities and walks with a limp. Here’s a story with a recent picture:

    North Bay News: Vallejo man settles lawsuit with city for $4.1 million

  5. 5
    Ichthyic

    the largest police misconduct settlement in California in the past decade

    wait, what??

    just how many of these HAVE there been in the last few decades?

  6. 6
    bybelknap

    A lesson that I have tried to instill in my kids is to never, ever trust a cop. Even if you are the victim of a crime, you should expect them to treat you like a criminal. Never talk to them unless you must. If you must, make sure you have a competent attorney (fortunately their mother is a very competent attorney) present to advise you and speak for you.

  7. 7
    Ichthyic

    @ttch:

    Dagdagan had been accused of grabbing a meat cleaver, pulling his girlfriend’s hair, slamming her into a wall and threatening to kill her, the city said.

    the problem with just clipping this part of the quoted story, is that the girlfriend was nowhere near dagdagan’s apartment when the cops went there.

    there in fact was no emergency that allowed them to bypass standard protocol, and they obviously should have had a warrant (and probably could have gotten one) before they B&E’d Dagdagan’s apartment.

    they were acting like thugs, basically, and the city has to pay for their stupidity.

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