Family Sues Anaheim Over Man's 2018 Death

ANAHEIM (CNS) - The mother of a 38-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest during his arrest by Anaheim police officers last year has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the two officers involved for alleged civil rights violations and wrongful death, attorneys said today.

Officers were called at 8:40 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2018, to an apartment complex in the 2200 block of West Broadway regarding a man who appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and allegedly assaulted an employee of the complex, Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.

``Preliminary information indicates when the officers tried to take the suspect into custody, a physical altercation occurred,'' Wyatt said. Additional officers were called to the scene.

``The suspect was eventually taken into custody, and within minutes went into full cardiac arrest,'' Wyatt said.

Police officers performed CPR until paramedics arrived and took him to a hospital.

The suspect, identified as Justin Perkins in the lawsuit, was pronounced dead on Oct. 31, 2018, according to the suit, which was filed Saturday. Attorneys said Perkins died one day before his 39th birthday.

Two police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the struggle.

Wyatt said the incident was being investigated by the Anaheim Police Homicide Detail, Major Incident Review Team and the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

According to the lawsuit, police ``attempted to arrest Perkins despite Perkins' protest of innocence of any criminal wrongdoing. During their attempted arrest, the defendant officers repeatedly struck Perkins about his head, face, and body with closed fists. Justin's uncle, Mike Perkins stood within feet of the struggle and shouted to the defendant officers, `He's not trying to hurt you! He's just scared he has a mental disorder!''

``... Finally, one of the defendant officers dropped his baton and began to choke Perkins,'' the suit continued. ``A second officer continued to physically strike Perkins while the other officer struck him. Witnesses contend that Perkins only attempted to protect himself from the assault by the defendant Anaheim police officers. Nonetheless, the defendant officers continued to beat and choke Perkins until his body went limp. The officers then handcuffed Perkins and stood him on his feet. Perkins appeared dazed and unable to stand on his own power. Nevertheless, the defendant officers forced Perkins to walk with their assistance for a few feet before Perkins collapsed...''

The Anaheim Police Department, while noting that ``APD cannot comment directly on matters of pending litigation,'' sent the following tweet Monday:

``Our thoughts go out to any family that has lost a loved one. Our officers responded to a call for help for someone being assaulted and acted in their duty as peace officers. They sustained serious injuries and have yet to be cleared to return to work. Beyond that, we want to respect all involved by letting reviews of the incident and any legal process play out.''

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