LOS ANGELES - City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has obtained a defense verdict in a federal lawsuit brought by the children of an arrestee who died after resisting two LAPD Officer’s efforts to stop him from swallowing a bindle of over 26 grams of heroin. Two additional officers, who performed CPR on the arrestee, and their supervising Sergeant, were also sued. The Plaintiffs requested $12.5 million dollars from the jury, who returned a verdict in favor of the Officers.
Alex Aguilar, 42, was arrested on June 9, 2016, for violating the terms of a gang injunction in the Wilmington area of Los Angeles. Mr. Aguilar smuggled a large bindle of heroin, as well as a small quantity of methamphetamine, into Harbor Division station. While undergoing a strip search, Mr. Aguilar placed the heroin in his mouth in an attempt to swallow the narcotics. Two officers, who were conducting the search, immediately commanded Mr. Aguilar to spit out the drugs. However, Mr. Aguilar refused, and violently resisted the officers' efforts to physically stop him.
After eventually being subdued, Mr. Aguilar lost consciousness, and three LAPD Officers engaged in CPR to attempt to save his life, as did paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department who arrived minutes later. According to the Coroner's report, Mr. Aguilar died from asphyxiation from the bindle of heroin--which had to be surgically removed from his body postmortem--being lodged in his throat, along with the combined toxicity of heroin, methamphetamine, and alcohol being contributing factors to his death. The jury rejected claims of wrongful death, excessive force and improper medical treatment as to all five police officers.