CALIFORNIA – A Lindsay man is suing the city, alleging wrongful death and use of excessive force after his grown son stopped breathing in the back of a police car while reportedly hog-tied and unable to breathe.
The city said he tried to attack officers and died from an overdose of methamphetamine.
Joshua Gonzales, 24, died April 10, 2015. He was single, never married and had no children.
The family has been grieving ever since and blaming the Police Department.
“We miss him very much,” said Joshua’s father, Ray Gonzales, an employee at a large retail store. “I’m very irritated because he’s gone and because of the circumstances involved.”
One year after he died, Joshua’s sister Kathy Gonzales, 28, held a candlelight vigil to remember him and draw attention to the case.
In January, Ray Gonzales and his ex-wife, Sheila DeoCampo of Patterson, sued Lindsay, population 12,670, in U.S. District Court in Fresno, seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
A magistrate on Thursday heard a request for a trial date next year and is expected to set the date soon.
Ray Gonzales gave this account of what happened:
He was at his job in Visalia and his son was at the family home with his grandfather – who has dementia and who his son was helping keep an eye on – when tools belonging to his grandfather were taken from a tool shed.
Joshua Gonzales suspected that a neighbor had taken the tools and confronted the neighbor. Blows were exchanged, then he went back inside.
Another neighbor witnessed the incident about 7:30 p.m. and called police.
Police arrived at the Gonzales home, which is surrounded by a 4-foot-high chain link fence and a locked gate.
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