The Lemoore Police Department and the city are under legal fire. The mother of a slain 30-year old man claims her son, 30-year old Donnie Hill, was killed by police officers in December. On Thursday, her attorneys filed a wrongful death claim against the city.
Diane said, “He was the sweetest son that I could ever had. That’s all.”
Nearly inconsolable, Diane could only mutter a few words about her deceased son at a press conference on Thursday, as her attorney’s answered on her behalf about the details surrounding his December death.
Diane’s attorney Neil Gehlawat stated, “Officers went to the scene of the home on Pine Court, and Mr. Hill was restrained by officers with the Lemoore Police Department and as a result of being restrained and having a spit mask put on his face, and being handcuffed, he ultimately died.”
The Kings County Coroner said Donnie’s cause of death was “cardiac dysrhythmia”, which means his heart stopped beating. Gehlawat blames it on Lemoore Police.
“The question in our mind is what caused the heart to stop beating? And we have a strong suspicion that the conduct that led up to Mr. Hill’s passing is what caused his heart to stop,” stated Gehlawat.
Though Gehlawat would not go into why police were called to the house where Donnie was staying, the King’s County Sheriff’s Office said donnie had been acting bizarre that December day. In the KCSO’s report, they say witnesses say Donnie may have been under the influence of drugs and was having psychotic outbursts. Investigators said family members had to restrain him. When officers arrived to the house, investigators say a spit hood was placed over his head to prevent him from further spitting. But Donnie’s mother said she believes his death could have been prevented.
Gehlawat said, “The purpose of us filing this claim and the purpose of us filing this lawsuit is a search for the truth.”
The City of Lemoore has 45 days to respond to the claim, and then after that, Diane’s attorney’s will file their lawsuit against the City.