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CHULA VISTA: Jason Watts Died In Police Custody Following Arrest At 7-Eleven Store


Oct 19, 2018

Jason Watts Died After Chula Vista Police Officers Arrested And Tasered Him At 7-Eleven Store By Third Avenue and G Street

 CHULA VISTA, CALIFORNIA (October 18, 2018) A 30-year-old man identified as Jason Watts has tragically died after he was arrested at a 7-Eleven store on suspicion of attacking a police officer.

San Diego police are saying that two people including a store clerk asked Jason Watts to leave the 7-Eleven. Police were called around 11:45 p.m. after he refused to leave.

Jason Watts also called 911 and told officials that there were people outside the 711 that were planning on shooting him. Police officers began talking to the victim in order to calm him down. One officer said that he picked up a cash register.

Chula Vista police then used pepper spray and a taser. He was then placed in a stiff nylon blanket and straps. He was transported to the hospital in order to be evaluated. The hospital deemed that he was well enough to be incarcerated.

By the time Jason Watts was taken to jail he went into medical distress and had to be taken back to the hospital. He received treatment but was later pronounced dead around 12 hours after his initial arrest.

Chula Vista police and the District Attorney’s Office are continuing to investigate the incident.

Preventing Excessive Force In Police Departments

Controlling police officer’s use of excessive force has been a major challenge for police departments all across the country. According to the National Institute of Justice, there are a number of measures that can be put in place in order to prevent police violence. These may include:

  • Conducting psychological profiles of police officers. Psychologists have found that there are a number of different personality types that make officers more likely to be involved in violence.

  • Behavioral monitoring and better training are key components of curbing abuse.

  • Excessive force should be considered a part of organizational influences, not just the sole behavior of an individual.

  • New screening technologies should be used to evaluate an officer’s decision making and problem solving ability.

Excessive force by police officers can often result in serious injuries and even death. A victim of excessive force or their family may be able to file a claim for damages by hiring a wrongful death attorney.

Liability When Police Suspects Die In Custody

A sudden death in police custody may open a police department up to civil litigation. Police departments are required to use a reasonable level of force to get suspects to comply with their demands. Excessive force  is a violation of a suspect’s fourth amendment rights to be free of unreasonable seizure. A number of these incidents occur with suspects that may be under the influence or who are suffering a mental health crisis. Tasers and pepper spray can often exacerbate these situations. In fact, tasering a suspect that is under the influence greatly increases the odds that they will go into cardiac arrest. A lack of training in how to deal with these situations is often to blame.

Getting Help From A Wrongful Death Attorney

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers offer our condolences to the family of Jason Watts as they are going through such a difficult time. This is far from the first incident like this in California. Three other suspects (Todd James Vitale, Chinedu Valentine Okobi and Stephen Cherry) died in police custody in recent weeks. This incident is part of a larger trend of officers who don’t understand how to deal with these situations. It is our sincere hope that steps are put in place to prevent this from happening again.

Has someone that you love died after being arrested by police officers in Chula Vista? You may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here for you. We can look into the facts of your case and take steps to preserve key pieces of evidence. We’ve been helping families all across California for over 40 years. We will fight hard to make sure that you get justice. Whether you are seeking free legal advice about your situation or need legal counsel we are here for you. You can call us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

 Sources:

  1. Lyndsay Winkley.  Man dies hours after arrest; Chula Vista police investigating. October 15, 2018

  2. Darrell L. Ross. Liability and Wrongful In-Custody Deaths. 2018

  3. Jeremy Travis. Controlling Police Use of Excessive Force: The Role of the Police Psychologist. 1994

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