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.

Check Also

Hotel Owners Sue Fire District and Fire Marshal Over Closure

The owners of a California hotel have filed suit against a city, a fire protection district, a building inspector, and a fire marshal claiming they unlawfully “red tagged” the building resulting in economic damages in the millions. The owners filed suit against the City of Anderson, Anderson Fire Protection District, city building inspector Brad Hawkins, fire marshal Steven Allred alleging a violation of their constitutional rights.

Fire Law Headlines: New York and Miami-Dade Follow-Up

There are two cases in the Fire Law headlines today, both being follow-ups of cases we covered previously. In New York, the Supreme Court for Oswego County has ruled that individual taxpayers lack standing to challenge a tax increase imposed by a fire district.