Not Much to Feel Good About in DeSantis Settlement

How long before Santa Rosa will compensate the family of a mentally unstable victim of a police shooting? The most recent estimate is about six years.

Richard DeSantis was killed by a Santa Rosa police sergeant in 2007 after DeSantis’ wife called to report that her husband had been shooting a handgun into the ceiling of his home during a manic episode. When he charged at officers outside, they weren’t sure if he still had the gun, and shot him to death.

It was reported that the city agreed to a $1 million settlement in May of this year, with no admission of wrongdoing. The settlement is a “business decision,” as Santa Rosa police chief Tom Schwedhelm coldly refers to it, that benefited mostly the DeSantis family’s attorneys.

There’s so much to this story, and most of it makes me sick. It’s a lose-lose-lose kind of thing, just the ticket to brighten up a Thursday afternoon.

That lawyers benefit handsomely from this settlement should not come as a surprise to anyone (insert your favorite bloodsucking lawyer joke here), but the numbers are shocking to the casual reader. Of that $1 million settlement, $735,000 goes to lawyers. That’s not the worst of it. After the verdict, the attorneys reportedly asked for $1.8 million (because how would they feed their families on a measly $735,000?).

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