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Civil Rights

In Dorger v. City of Napa (U.S.D.C. No. Dist. Calif.), Khaldoun Baghdadi and Andrew McDevitt represented the family of a 60-year-old registered nurse who was shot and killed by the Napa Police Department while in a state of severe mental crisis. After a complaint from a neighbor, the deceased was contacted by the Napa PD. He agreed to come out of his residence for what was characterized as a “welfare check.” When the he walked out of his home he put his hands in the air as directed. Once outside he was approached by officers armed with AR-15 assault rifles, pistols, a Taser, a Sage weapon, and a bean bag shotgun. Drunk and disturbed, he became upset when he saw the officers with their weapons pointed at him. The commanding Sergeant broadcast a go-ahead to shock him with a Taser. One of the officers then yelled “Taser, Taser, Taser.” At the same time a second officer fired his AR-15 striking the deceased in the head, instantly killing him. Officers claimed the decedent provoked the shooting by reaching for a gun in his waistband. No gun was ever found. Prior to trial, the City of Napa agreed to a $700,000 settlement with the decedent’s family. In addition, the city agreed to provide crisis intervention training to all patrol officers and supervisory personnel. The training will include an overview of mental illness and teach tactics to be employed to de-escalate situations where persons with mental illness are in crisis.