Mariela Limon |Staff Writer|
The parents of Bartholomew Williams, who was shot and killed on campus Dec. 8, have filed a lawsuit against CSUSB for wrongful death and seven other claims on March 5.
Barbara and Paul Williams’ lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles federal court, also named the state and CSUSB Police Chief Jimmie Brown as defendants.
The parents are seeking an undetermined amount of compensatory damages.
CSUSB officials were aware that Williams, 38, was bipolar and was registered as a student with disabilities, claimed the lawsuit.
The Press Enterprise reports that in an interview, James DeSimone, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said, “The university had advance notice that he has special needs. To have him encountered with the use of force and police officers when it really was a mental health issue violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.”
“This is not an individual who has a history of assault or anything like that,” said DeSimone, according to The Sun.
Lawsuit papers indicate claims of wrongful death, negligence, battery and deadly force, among other claims included in the lawsuit.
According to The Press Enterprise, “The lawsuit says that Cal State police did not use proper tactics, failed to call and wait for mental health officials or a police crisis-intervention team and did not call Williams’ relatives or friends in the hope that they could defuse the situation.”
The lawsuit papers claim that on the night of Dec. 8, the named defendants went to Williams’ residence at student housing to perform a psychological intervention.
“Defendants engaged in the unnecessary use of force, which unnecessarily and unreasonably escalated to deadly force,” the papers claim.
The Press Enterprise reports that according to CSUSB spokesperson Sid Robinson, on the day the events took place, University Police had been called three times to deal with Williams.
San Bernardino City Police officials said that on the third call, in which officials wanted to take in Williams for a psychological intervention, he, “was killed outside his apartment after he grappled for an officer’s baton, grabbed and used pepper spray and then kicked an officer in the head.”
Williams was shot five times during the incident.
The San Bernardino Sun reported that, “The incident sparked protest from civil-rights activists, who argued that if Cal State officers had access to tasers, then Williams might not have died.”
The suit claims that, “CSU SBPD were negligently and inadequately trained, hired or supervised regarding the use of force and regrading proper procedure for responding to situations involving emotionally or mentally disturbed persons.”
“Cal State officials said tasers, among other issues, would be evaluated. But they defended their department, saying Cal State police receive similar training to city police departments, including crisis-intervention training.”
Williams’ parents are also hoping for changes, “in training, tactics and protocol relating to how police handle mentally ill or emotionally disturbed people.”
CSUSB has yet to comment on the lawsuit due to prematurity of the situation, said CSUSB spokesmen Sid Robinson, according to The Press Enterprise.