Family blames San Diego police for death of schizophrenic man - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Family blames San Diego police for death of schizophrenic man

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — The family of a mentally ill man who died while in the custody of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department is taking legal action.

The parents of 39-year-old Paul Silva have filed a claim against the city and the county.

Silva's family says he was wrongfully detained and later died from the injuries he sustained while in jail.

"I'm just devastated, and I'll regret for the rest of my life calling them for help," said Silva's mother Leslie Allen.

Allen says she wishes she had never called San Diego police on Feb. 20 when her son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was off his medication and acting out.

"I said 'I just need help with him' and he said 'I'm trained in this field. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about,'" said Allen.

Allen along with her husband, son and their attorneys met downtown to talk about the claim they're filing against the County of San Diego and the San Diego Police Department after Silva died in county jail.

"They shot him with water balls at a high velocity," said the family's attorney Gene Iredale. "They tased him four times."

Iredale said arresting officers used excessive force on Silva while taking him to jail when his mother asked for medical attention.

"The police officer came in and said 'No, your son is on drugs. He's on methamphetamine - I know it,'" said James Frantz, another lawyer for Silva's family.

The attorneys showed documentation from the initial 5150 mental case call log that said Silva was heard yelling and getting violent. The documentation also includes a drug test report that showed he was not under the influence of any narcotics.

The family's claim says Silva was brutally detained in county jail and denied proper treatment.

"He was hitting his head against the ground on the jail cell," said Frantz. "They put their knee into his back and they collapsed his lung."

Silva suffered a heart attack, had brain damage and spent six weeks at UCSD Medical Center before his family took him off life support.

The county sheriff's department issued the following statement on the matter:

Mr. Silva was booked into custody on February 20, 2018. He was observed by staff in apparent medical distress on February 21, 2018 and was subsequently transported to the hospital for treatment. On March 28, 2018, the Medical Examiner notified the department Mr. Silva had passed away. Major Crimes is investigating and CLERB was notified. Due to pending litigation, we cannot comment further.

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