Northern California City Will Pay Nearly $6 Million to Family of Mentally Ill Man Who Died in Police Custody

Close-up of red and blue police lights during a traffic stop in a residential setting.
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In addition to the large sum of money, the family of Jacob Bauer is asking for a "listening session" between Bauer's parents and the Pleasanton Police chief.

The family of a mentally ill man who died after northern California police officers repeatedly retrained and tasered him has just received nearly $6 million in a settlement, according to reports. The settlement between the city of Pleasanton and Jacob Bauer's family is the largest the city has ever paid.

Jacob Bauer, 38, died on August 1, 2018 after an altercation with Pleasanton police officers who were responding to a call about a man acting erratically and talking to himself inside a grocery store near his northern California home. 

Once inside, the officers found Bauer, who was reportedly cooperative, able to identify himself and answer their questions before he suddenly stopped talking and stared off into the distance, according to a video of the encounter obtained by the East Bay Times.

In the video, officers then proceed to place Bauer in handcuffs, tase him, punch him, and pile on top of him as he laid flat on the ground with his chest facing down in a position reminiscent to that of George Floyd, according to the complaint obtained by CBS News.

At one point, he was retrained by at least eight officers.

Bauer is heard in the recording saying he couldn't breathe and, shortly after, he went unconscious. Parademics attempted to revive him but were unsuccessful and he was declared dead after arriving at the hospital. 

A coroner ruled that he died of "acute methamphetamine toxicity" and also noted that he probably suffered from "mechanical asphyxia." Bauer's family disputed the coroner's report.

The man's family contacted the police on multiple occasions before his death to warn them of his mental illness and pleading for mercy if police encountered him, according to the Times.

Bauer's family has been speaking with the City Council and also hopes to talk with the police department about de-escalation training to offer their advice on how officials should interact with the mentally ill.

“Jacob Bauer was an entirely innocent man. He was nothing more than a mentally ill man that needed help, and instead of giving him help they killed him," Gary Gwilliam, the family's attorney told the East Bay Times.

The Bauer family will have 10 to 20 minutes to describe how they would like to see Pleasanton police officers respond to mental health calls, according to the settlement.

Police will also be able to explain the changes the department has made since the incident. The virtual listening session must be scheduled within 30 days of it being signed by all parties. 

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