Claim says deputies used excessive force

Overabundance of caution and/or taser zaps fried Mark Adkins

The widow of a man who was tasered to death by sheriff's deputies in May 2017 has filed a wrongful death claim against the County of San Diego. The claim is the first step before filing a civil lawsuit.

In the November 15 claim acquired by the Reader, Collette Adkins says deputies fired multiple charges into Mark Adkins. He died later.

Deputies were called to an apartment complex off of Lemon Grove Way in Lemon Grove on the morning of May 20, 2017, to investigate calls that a man had hopped a fence into a private backyard. When deputies arrived they found 54-year-old Adkins sitting in a outdoor common area at the complex.

According to reports, Adkins refused to follow the deputies' orders. Adkins’s failure to comply, says the complaint, prompted several deputies to begin firing their tasers at him.

"During this encounter, the unidentified deputies repeatedly deployed their electronic control devices against Mr. Adkins, causing him to collapse on the ground, and continued to use their tasers against Mr. Adkins as he lay on the ground with his hands in the air, pleading for them to stop. The powerful electronic currents delivered by the Taser barbs caused Mr. Adkins to seize, spasm, and convulse for an extended amount of time. The unidentified deputies knew or should have known that continuous and repeated deployment of a powerful weapon such as an electronic control device can result in serious bodily injury or death."

A neighbor in a nearby unit recorded the incident and told reporters that he had heard three charges fired during the altercation.

The claim alleges that deputies then pinned Adkins down and called for medical assistance. Adkins soon became unresponsive and later died.

"The use of these Tasers in this manner and these circumstances constituted excessive force in violation of Mr. Adkins's civil and statutory rights, and his untimely death was directly and proximately caused by the unlawful conduct described above."

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the County of San Diego have been sued over the use of tasers before. In May 2017, as reported by the Reader, the county agreed to pay $3 million to a man who had to undergo multiple amputations and suffered brain damage and was paralyzed after deputies repeatedly tasered him in a Vista shopping-mall parking lot.

The county has 45 days to process and investigate the claim. If it is denied then a lawsuit can be filed.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Just another attempt to hit the ghetto lottery.

If you think poor people sue more than rich people, your mind is a ghetto.

GOLLY GEE you're clever! "Your mind is a ghetto"... wow! Who do you write material for?

So Lemon Grove, who contracts with the County of San Diego for law enforcement is not named in the lawsuit? The Sheriff’s contract for Lemon Grove safety is so miserly that the City itself should be a defendant. Lemon Grove has such a severe and negligent coverage of law enforcement resources that they should shoulder some of the claim. For example, recall Ferguson, Missouri? The city where Walter Scott was fatally wounded? They have a population of 21,200 residents and 72 members of the police force, 54 commissioned officers.

Lemon Grove has a population of 26,000 people according to the 2010 census. Lemon Grove, at any one time has 4 to 6 officers on patrol. Compare and contrast. Lemon Grove is woefully understaffed for law enforcement needs. Under these kinds of circumstances there is a lot of pressure on the deputies to respond and control events, whether criminal or domestic.

Lemon Grove has changing demographics which for lack of a better word are, shifting, the need to increased law enforcement contacts. Lemon Grove leadership has its heads up their proverbial ass and are blindsided to the immense demand for more law enforcement capabilities.

Deputies are tense. Their contacts in the city are increasingly violent and uncooperative. They did not use deadly force; they used the tools which have been proven in 99.9% of cases to be effective and non-lethal. But some contacts are intoxicated or have other health issues that the deputies are not aware of when they contact an individual in a crises or criminal response.

This is not negligence on the part of the County, but on the overwhelmingly unrealistic demands the city Lemon Grove expects from its dismal deployment of law enforcement capabilities. Ferguson, Missouri has a smaller population than Lemon Grove, but Lemon Grove has 20% of what Ferguson, Missouri deploys for enforcement.

The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle and Lemon Grove has been behind the curve, not able to meet the needs of the law enforcement required by the community. Lemon Grove cannot fix their streets, God knows when they will be able to control their crime. The way things are going, it’s not going to get any better soon.

Hey Ponzi,

Just to clarify, no lawsuit has been filed. I submitted a PRA to view claims made to the County's Risk Management Department and this was one of them. I'm sure, as you are as well, that this will result in a lawsuit and Lemon Grove will likely be named in it. Thx-dH

To avoid injury or death just comply with any lawful order given by law enforcement. There are an unending number of lawyers ready and willing to take up your cause. Many lawsuits are settled out of court.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader