Gavel

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 02/23/14, 7:33 PM PST |

The widow of a deceased Upland real estate executive has sued San Bernardino County’s district attorney, the California Highway Patrol and several others, alleging they caused his suicide by forcing him to cooperate as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption and failing to take into account his unstable mental condition.

Real estate executive David Lewis killed himself after being forced by San Bernardino County prosecutors to cooperate in an investigation of his own family, Lewis’ widow alleges in a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Lewis, 36, was suffering from bi-polar disorder, was on medication and was suicidal in June 2010, when he had been cooperating with San Bernardino County law enforcement officials in a public corruption case, his widow, Rachel Lewis, alleges in her lawsuit.

“During this period (Lewis) was subjected to coercion by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, defendant District Attorney Mike Ramos and other San Bernardino County employees, against decedent, to cooperate in an investigation of his family,” Rachel Lewis alleges in her lawsuit, filed in San Bernardino Superior Court on July. 11, 2011.

David Lewis’ cooperation in the criminal probe extended to him wearing a “concealed electronic recording device and other actions, when these defendants knew or should have known that, due to his vulnerable mental condition, this coercion was reasonably likely to cause decedent substantial or permanent mental injury, or cause him to take his own life,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which was remanded to U.S. District Court in Riverside shortly after being filed because it alleges civil rights violations, names as defendants the county of San Bernardino, District Attorney Michael A. Ramos, the state of California, a CHP officer, and four San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department employees at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga at the time of Lewis’ death.

Rachel Lewis alleges two counts of loss of familial relationship and one count of wrongful death and names as her co-plaintiff her son, Ralph Lewis, who was 19 months old at the time of his father’s suicide.

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