EL CENTRO, Calif. - An update to a story we first reported in 2015, a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought against the El Centro Police Department regarding the death of Charles Sampson who died while in police custody.
The City of El Centro will pay $4.1 million dollars to the Sampson family to settle the case.
We spoke to Sampson's wife and the attorney representing the family and though an agreement has been reached, Sampson's family believes police should be held accountable for what they did.
“I feel like no amount of money or whatever is going take the place of my husband or his life,” said Laverne Sampson, wife of Charles Sampson.
Charles Sampson was pulled over on December 13, 2013 for running a stop sign. Police found a meth pipe and shotgun inside Sampson's car and placed him under arrest.
While in custody Sampson began to show distress. His wife Laverne Sampson was on the scene and requested help but according to Chris Morris, Sampson's family attorney, that request was not taken seriously.
“Basically the case was about their failure to heed the family's request for medical attention and then taking the affirmative step of calling off 911,” said Morris.
Audio recordings from the 2013 911 call and video was released of an officer contacting dispatch to tell them to disregard Mrs. Sampson’s 911 phone call.
Charles Sampson died later that evening.
“I still feel like they need to be held accountable and pay for what they did. I feel like that still hasn't been resolved. Even though we have come to this agreement and this settlement offer, they still need held accountable and pay for what they did,” explained Sampson.
“This settlement meant a lot to the family because it was finally an admission, although an indirect admission that what had happened that night was inappropriate,” said Morris.
“That night I will never forget that night will always be there, but my family and I try not to, you know, dwell on that night. We try to remember the happy times and you know the things that made us happy about how he was, how fun he was, the stuff that he used to do and that's what we try to remember. We try not...we won't forget that night but we try not to dwell on it, because it's not going to change and it's not going to bring him back,” added Sampson.
The City of El Centro released a statement that states;
“On behalf of the City of El Centro, we want to express again that any loss of life is regrettable. There will not be further litigation and hope that this monetary settlement brings closure to the family and allows them to move on. The decision to settle as well as the terms of the settlement lie wholly within the authority of our insurer, and are not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by either
party. The mayor and the city council also confirm the ongoing support for the El Centro Police Department and its personnel and the continuing confidence in them.”
You can find a link to the original story below.