He rules for retrial to determine amount
Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/16/2011 03:52:29 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge has decided to hold a new trial to determine how much money San Bernardino should pay the family of Terry Jackson, a mentally ill man who died while in police custody.

Los Angeles District Judge R. Gary Klausner said in court Aug. 9 that he erred in allowing Jackson’s attorney to suggest at the end of closing arguments an amount of money his client should receive. The jury awarded Jackson’s family $2 million in April, finding that the city was civilly liable for his death.

“At this point, the plaintiff has a verdict, but no damages,” said Joseph Arias, a San Bernardino private attorney representing the city. “That $2 million dollars is wiped out as if it never happened.”

Woodland Hills-based attorney Dale K. Galipo, who is representing Jackson’s mother, Sheryl Nash, said he was happy the judge decided to let the jury’s verdict stand, but disappointed the damage amount was thrown out.

“Obviously, if we have to try it again, we’re going to ask more damages and hope we get a higher amount,” he said.

Jackson, 21, also known as Terry Wayne Nash, died in March 2009 after San Bernardino police took him into custody. An autopsy determined his cause of death was excited delirium in the presence of law enforcement restraint, with obesity and an enlarged heart as contributing causes.

Officers initially went to Seccombe Lake Park at Fifth Street and Sierra Way on a report of a man who appeared to be exposing himself.

Jackson suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana, authorities said. He reportedly asked officers if they could “see the dragons.”

Officers tried to grab Jackson by his arms when he reportedly began swinging at them, but the officers said they had difficulty because Jackson was 6 feet tall and weighed 250 pounds.

An officer used a Taser gun on him several times. Officers held him down on the ground while waiting for paramedics to arrive because they couldn’t get him in a patrol car.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office determined the officers were justified in their actions.

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