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Family of Jamaican man files second lawsuit in San Diego

Published:Thursday | December 17, 2020 | 12:21 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer

THE ADULT children of a Jamaican man, Oral Nunis, who allegedly died at the hands of police officers from the Chula Vista Police Department in San Diego, have last week filed another lawsuit against the police department, alleging wrongful death and asking for a jury trial.

The federal lawsuits were filed on behalf of Kimone Nunis, Ludecea Nunis and Andre Nunis by civil rights attorneys John Burris and DeWitt Lacy.

The federal suit accuses the Chula Vista police of violating Mr Nunis’ civil rights when at least three officers restrained him.

According to the suit, “as a result of the officers’ negligence and unnecessary conduct, Mr Nunis was pronounced dead on March 13 after his daughter called 911 for help and the help came and killed Mr Nunis”.

The suit is also asking a San Diego Superior Court to compel the City of Chula Vista to provide the family’s attorneys with the names of the officers involved in Nunis death. The suit claims that the city wants the officers’ identities to remain secret as part of an “open investigation,” defying state public disclosure laws.

The lawsuit by the adult children is the second filed since the death of Nunis. The first was filed by his wife Roxi and one of his daughters, Naomi.

The new lawsuit alleges 11 points of complaint.

These include use of excessive force, denial of medical care, violation of Nunis’ civil rights, negligence and wrongful death, violation of California’s Civil Code, negligent infliction of emotional distress, among others.

The lawsuit alleges that on March 13, 2020, just after midnight, officers from the Chula Vista Police department were called to the home of Nunis’ daughter. During the call, the police were informed that Mr Nunis was engaging in self-harm practices. However, the complaint said that before the police’s arrival, Nunis was calmed down by his daughter.

The complaint further alleges that when the police arrived, they insisted on placing Nunis in handcuffs. He requested not to be placed in handcuffs and that he would leave with the police officers.

However, the officers demanded that Mr Nunis be placed in handcuffs, pursuant to Chula Vista Police Department policy.

It further alleges that Nunis ran from the apartment and was chased by the police officers. After catching him, the complaint further alleges that Nunis was tackled to the ground and as he lay face down clutching a bottle of medication, the officers pinned him to the ground and forcefully proceeded to place a restraining wrap on him.

During the attempt to put the device on Nunis, the complaint alleges that one officer laid across his lower back as another officer began to place his legs in the wrap. Another officer held Nunis’ shoulders with his face down while others tried to pry the bottle of medicine from his hands.

The complaint said that while Nunis yelled for help, the officers continued to attempt to apply the restraining wrap.

The lawsuit said that his daughter was prevented from helping him.

Nunis became unresponsive and unconscious during the process, according to the complaint, but the officers did not seek to get him medical help.