The Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved an $8.3 million settlement today over the 2010 in-custody death of a man at Santa Rita Jail. The settlement also includes statewide changes to health care by Corizon Health Inc., a private company, and new training for Alameda County sheriff's deputies.
On Aug. 16, 2010, Martin Harrison died after a struggle with several deputies during which he was beaten and shocked repeatedly with Tasers.
A civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Harrison's family alleged a Corizon Health licensed vocational nurse failed to properly classify Harrison to be monitored for severe alcohol withdrawal when he was processed into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
California law requires registered nurses to assess inmates at intake, and Corizon agreed to change staffing at correctional facilities throughout the state in the settlement, according to attorneys for Harrison's family.
"It was very important for us to stop Corizon from endangering jail inmates by staffing California jails with unqualified nurses,” Oakland civil rights attorney Michael Haddad said. "After jail deputies beat and Tasered their father to death, Martin Harrison’s children beat them in court to win the largest wrongful death settlement in a civil rights case in California history."