James Bradford Nelson has filed $26 million claim against the City of Citrus Heights, California, over severe burns that he suffered when police pinned him on hot pavement in a KFC parking lot where temperatures reached triple digits on June 23, 2017.
The Sacramento Bee notes that Nelson was in the hospital for nearly two months recovering from burns to his face, torso, legs and buttocks.
Police came to the scene based on calls that the shirtless Nelson was acting erratically, and held him on the hot pavement for five or minutes.
According to the National Weather Service, the temperature of the pavement would have been close to 170 degrees.
Nelson was unconscious when he was placed in an ambulance 20 minutes later.
The Sacramento County District Attorney originally charged Nelson with trying to rob a KFC employee, being under the influence of a controlled substance and resisting a police officer.
But those charges were dropped in light of the “unique facts and circumstances,” and Nelson was charged with a parole violation.
Nelson’s lawsuit includes medical expenses of $1.8 million, plus $25 million in “general damages,” and unspecified punitive damages.
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ronald Lawrence has said in the past that police took the Nelson to the ground because he was combative and trying to flee from the police.
Lawrence has also claimed that when police realized Nelson was burned (after five or more minutes), they poured water on him and called an ambulance.
According to Nelson’s claim, he suffers from a variety of mental problems including paranoid schizophrenia, which “is exacerbated in extreme conditions of weather.”
Nelson’s legal claim adds:
During this time on the ground Nelson was screaming and yelling in excruciating pain. However, the officers forced his head down onto the hot pavement, leaning onto it with such force that Nelson could not move it for relief, exposing the right side of his face and neck to the scorching heat of the concrete.
(Source: The Sacramento Bee)