Fontana police named
in lawsuit By JOE NELSON
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Fontana police named in lawsuit
Man denied medical care, complaint alleges
By JOE NELSON
Monday, February 17, 2003 -
FONTANA — A man who died in Fontana police custody
last year after he
was struck by two officers was denied immediate medical treatment,
leading to his death, according to a lawsuit filed in San Bernardino
The lawsuit - filed Feb. 5 on behalf of the family
of Ismael Banda,
41, of Fontana - alleges wrongful death and civil rights violations. It
is the second lawsuit filed in his case. A federal lawsuit was filed in
Banda was one of three men who died within a
six-month period in Fontana
police custody last year.
Two claims seeking $20 million in damages each
have been filed with
the city on behalf of the other two Fontana men, David Michael Tyler,
and Fermin Rincon, 24. Tyler died in March and Rincon in June, both
struggling with police officers.
Fontana Police Chief Frank Scialdone declined to
comment Monday, saying
he hasn't seen the lawsuit yet. He has maintained the officers were
in their use of force against Banda, Rincon and Tyler.
Dale Galipo, the Woodland Hills attorney
representing all three victims,
said a trial in the federal case against Banda has been scheduled for
18. He plans to file both federal and state lawsuits on behalf of Tyler
and Rincon in the next several months.
Galipo said he expects between 20 and 30
depositions to be taken in
the next 90 days from police officers, nursing staff, Scialdone, and
who responded to the calls.
The latest lawsuit names numerous defendants:
Scialdone, the city of
Fontana, officers Michael Ernes and David Trevino, American Medical
the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, and Southern California
Banda died Feb. 5, 2002, after he was subdued by
Trevino and Ernes following
an altercation with the two officers, who tried to pull him over in the
9100 block of Juniper Street for a traffic violation.
Banda evaded the officers, who chased him into a
field and subdued him
during a struggle. Trevino and Ernes struck Banda with a police radio
a gun, according to a report issued by the District Attorney's Office.
Galipo said Banda was taken to the police station,
where he remained
for 40 minutes before paramedics were called.
Banda was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical
Center, where he died at
"(Trevino and Ernes) said they had to stop by the
station to get a camera
and a tape recorder, but we're not buying that," Galipo said. "There's
a lot of questions in our mind, like what happened in the 40 minutes
he was at the (police) station. We think he was taken to the station
additional blows were inflicted. That's our theory."
An autopsy report shows Banda arrived at Kaiser
Permanente Medical Center
in Fontana at 6:10 p.m. and remained there until the time of his death.
The report listed Banda's cause of death as internal bleeding from a
spleen due to blunt force trauma. A contributing cause of death was
cirrhosis of the liver.
In January, Fontana police announced that a
use-of-force expert had
been retained to begin reviewing their training procedures and
policies in the wake of allegations of police brutality and the
Scialdone said the use-of-force expert, whom he
and an attorney defending
the Police Department have refused to identify, was hired to confirm
the department's policies and training procedures are sound.
But Galipo said he believes the expert was hired
for damage control
and to represent the Police Department in court.