In-Custody Death

Mom Sues SDSO After Son Shot With Stun Gun Dies in Custody

The Mexican consulate is assisting with the lawsuit because the victim was a Mexican citizen

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The family of a man killed following a confrontation with San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies in Aug. 2018 has filed a civil lawsuit against the department.

Marco Napoles Rosales, 29, of El Monte, east of Los Angeles, and eight deputies were involved in an altercation at a convenience store in Fallbrook last August.

Deputies were called when Rosales refused to leave a Circle K near State Route 76 and Interstate 15 when asked, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.

Rosales told deputies his car had broken down and he was waiting for a ride. After helping Rosales make multiple phone calls, a deputy instructed Rosales to leave the property but he refused.

Rosales was taken into custody for trespassing, but not without confrontation.

“What did I say? Are you not understanding what I’m telling you? Take your backpack off, take it off! What did I tell you? Take your hands behind your back and stop!” a deputy can be heard yelling.

The video appears to show Rosales being struck with a stun gun six times before he was placed in a body wrap restraint. Rosales can be heard screaming for help.

Shortly after he became unresponsive and was declared brain dead after going into medical distress in an ambulance shortly after, according to the District Attorney’s office.

The District Attorney's office said he died the next day, though at the time, the SDSO said Rosales was declared brain dead about a week later.

Rosales’ mother, Dolores Rosales, filed a lawsuit against the SDSO, the involved deputies, and Sheriff Bill Gore. The Mexican consulate is also assisting with the lawsuit because Marco Rosales was a Mexican citizen.

“It's shocking that this guy, instead of being helped as he was basically begging, he is subjected to even more violence,” Dolores Rosales' attorney Jesus Eduardo Arias said.

The DA’s Office investigated the case they determined the deputies involved were not criminally liable.

The DA found that Rosales was "exhibiting signs of excited delirium and extreme strength" that was caused in part by methamphetamine use.

"The District Attorney’s Office determined the law enforcement personnel involved in his restraint acted reasonably under the circumstances and bear no state criminal liability for their actions," a determination from the DA's office said.

Marco Rosales’ cause of death was ruled sudden cardiac arrest due to meth found in his system and the physical exertion during altercation.

The SDSO declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying it would not comment on pending litigation.

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