Family sues officers for alleged use of excessive force and lack of medical care leading to man's death

The family of a man who died months after being arrested by police is suing four Hidalgo County, Texas sheriff’s diputados, alleging the deputies crushed a vertebra in Jorge Alejandro Gonzalez Zuniga’s neck and failed to provide proper medical care, leading to his death.

Zuniga, quien fue 22 at the time of the incident, was arrested and charged on April 12, 2020, with violating an emergency management plan, public intoxication, and resisting arrest, search and transport, according to Hidalgo County Jail records.
Zuniga had attended a friend’s party and was asleep on the friend’s lawn when deputies arrived to investigate an altercation, according to the complaint filed by Zuniga’s family attorneys.
When the deputies discovered Zuniga did not live at the residence, they told him to go home but then decided to arrest him, la denuncia decía.
    He was tased multiple times during the arrest, pushed to the ground and had his neck crushed, según la denuncia.
    Booking photos of Zuniga obtained from Hidalgo County Jail records show an unidentified person’s hand holding Zuniga’s head upright.
    Según la denuncia, Zuniga was in his cell for over twenty-one hours without any medical attention.
    Despite the obvious injuries, including a large swollen neck, cuts and contusions, the jail officials acted with deliberate indifference and at no time sent Mr. Zuniga for medical evaluation or treatment,” la denuncia decía.
    A day after his arrest, Zuniga was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a severe cervical fracture, a swollen spinal cord and was a diagnosed as a quadriplegic, según la denuncia.
    Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office told CNN it had no comment on the lawsuit.

    Sheriff’s office said spinal injuries were not noticed because of intoxication level

    En septiembre 14, the sheriff’s office said in a statement, “The day after the arrest, the Sheriff’s Office requested an independent investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A Texas Ranger was assigned to the investigation. The Office cooperated fully with the Ranger’s investigation, made all records available for his review, and provided access to each involved person for interview.
    The sheriff’s office also disputed the claim that Zuniga did not receive medical attention saying, Zunigastrongly resisted efforts to be taken into custody. Pepper Spray, Tasers, and three deputies were required to accomplish his physical restraint and placement into the backseat of the police cruiser.
    As he was placed into the car, he made several statements claiming that he had been hurt in the process,” read the statement.
    Once in the jail, señor. Zuniga was seen by a nurse, but because of his advanced state of intoxication, his spinal injuries were not discovered until many hours later that day. As soon as jail personnel realized he was seriously injured, an ambulance was called, and he was transported to the hospital for treatment,” la declaración decía.
    The charges against Zuniga were ultimately dropped and dismissed, según la denuncia.
    In the following weeks after his release, señor. Zuniga suffered multiple complications arising from his injuries, según la denuncia.
      On or about July 8, 2020, señor. Zuniga suffered a heart attack and died on July 15, 2020. Jorge Zuniga’s cause of death was listed as acute on chronic respiratory failure. señor. Zuniga’s death was the direct consequences of the injures and the lack of medical care by these Defendants,” la denuncia decía.
      The family is seeking an unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, según la denuncia.

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