The death of a man who died after he was handcuffed by the Santa Fe police has prompted his living family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit that also questions whether or not the victim’s civil rights were violated by the police force when he was arrested.
When it was first filed, the lawsuit was local, but it has no become a matter for the federal court system which makes the family hopeful that the case will attract enough media attention to force police forces all over the country to change the way they handle prisoners.
The individual who passed away while in the custody of the Santa Fe police force was James Rochford, who was 42 years old at the time. His last living moments were spent at Tiny’s Bar and Lounge, the same building he was standing in front of when he passed away. All though it has been more than two years since his death, his family continues to grieve his passing.
According the lawsuit, the reason the family feels the Santa Fe police force is directly responsible for the death of Mr. Rochford stems from the fact his cause of death is positional asphyxiation, something that would never have happened had he not been handcuffed.
The reason the Santa Fe police force got involved was that when Tiny’s bartender cut him off, Rochford became agitated and started a bar fight. Others at the bar were able to subdue Rochford before the police arrived on the scene. It was at this point that witnesses say the man complained about breathing difficulties
The family and their wrongful death attorney feel that if the police had followed procedure and allowed Rochford to sit up after he’d been handcuffed, rather than leaving him face down on the ground in front of the building, his airway’s would have cleared and he would have survived. The reason the family chose to serve the entire police force with the lawsuit rather than focusing the action on a single officer is due to their belief that she had been improperly trained on proper protocol.
It’s likely that the average person doesn’t realize just how many people die as the result of accidents similar to this. According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the course of a single year, approximately 121,000 deaths in the United States can be linked to unintentional injuries, including vehicular accidents, fatal falls, and accidental poisonings.
Just because a death is considered an accident, it doesn’t mean the services of a wrongful death attorney Tampa aren’t required. The wrongful death attorney has the resources needed to look into the exact circumstances of the death and determine if, like in the case of James Rochford, if something could have been done differently to prevent the death of occurring. Based on their findings, the wrongful death attorney Tampa will advice the deceased’s loved ones what their best course of legal action is.