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San Diego County agrees to pay $3.5M over 2018 jail death

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego County will pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a mentally ill man who died after deputies tried to forcefully remove him from a jail holding cell, a newspaper reported Monday.

The Union-Tribune said it’s the largest settlement yet for an in-custody fatality in the San Diego County jail system.

Paul Silva, 39, was jailed in February 2018 after his mother called police because he had stopped taking medication for schizophrenia and was experiencing a psychotic episode.

Silva was in a holding cell for 36 hours, according to the family’s lawsuit. When Silva did not comply with orders to “cuff up” — place his hands through the cell door so he could be handcuffed — a team tried to extract Silva.

“Paul was Tased between four to nine times while six other members of the Tactical Team held him down with a body shield and pressed down on his torso,” the lawsuit said.

Silva died a month later at a hospital.

The family sued after the District Attorney’s Office found no crime had been committed by deputies.

County officials didn’t respond to the Union-Tribune’s requests for comment on the settlement.

The agreement comes as the Sheriff’s Department is confronting a dozen other lawsuits over inmate deaths and injuries, the newspaper said.

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