Sacramento Settles Restraint Death Suit for $4.45 Million

The City of Sacramento has agreed to settle a wrongful death suit with the family of a man who died while being restrained during an EMS response, for $4.45 million. Reginald “Reggie” Payne, 48, suffered a cardic arrest while being restrained by police, who responded at the request of firefighters.

The incident occurred on February 25, 2020. Firefighters were called to Payne’s parents’ home by his mother because he was experiencing a diabetic-related emergency. Unable to control Payne so an IV could be established, firefighters requested police assistance. The police officers reportedly subdued Payne by placing him in a prone position, resulting in him suffering a heart attack.

The lawsuit alleged wrongful death, false arrest, excessive force, and other civil rights violations, and named a fire captain, four firefighters, and the city. The city fired the captain in 2022, contending he should have stopped the officers from applying a dangerous restraint technique. IAFF Local 522 grieved the termination and the captain was reinstated with backpay in 2023. Here is more from The Sacramento Bee.

Here is a copy of the complaint.  

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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