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"I Can't Breathe": Remembering David Cross, Killed by Corrections Officers in Santa Cruz County Jail
by Santa Cruz Police News
Wednesday Jun 17th, 2020 4:11 PM
David Cross, a 44-year-old local plumber, was killed on September 18, 2005 in Santa Cruz County Jail while experiencing a mental health crisis. Corrections officers who responded that day to address his health issues decided Cross needed to be restrained, so they sat on his back as he lay on his stomach and "hog tied" him on the floor of the jail. Cross screamed, “I can’t breathe,” “I’m going to die,” and “Please get off me,” before his body went limp after 3 1/2 minutes of being restrained. Fast forward to 2020, and it is likely that many will see the killing of David Cross in a new light. The world is currently rising up in outrage over the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, who held him down on his stomach for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, as he was begging for his life and exclaiming "I can't breathe."
santa_cruz_county_main_jail.jpg

David Anthony Cross was arrested on September 17, 2005, and had been in Santa Cruz County jail for one day when he began experiencing anxiety inside. He was placed in an observation cell, where he started banging his head against the wall.

When officers restrained him, they hand cuffed his wrists and shackled his legs, put a spit mask over his head, shot him with a TASER stun gun twice, and medicated him with Larazepam. During the process his bladder emptied. He was held down for 3 1/2 minutes. One officer lay on his back during that time. After his body went limp, corrections officers placed him in a restraining chair. Cross didn't receive medical attention until 16 minutes later when a nurse arrived to check his vital signs and was unable to find a pulse.

As mentioned previously, Cross screamed, “I can’t breathe,” “I’m going to die,” and “Please get off me,” before he died, and the killing was caught on video. In April of 2008, Santa Cruz County and the sheriff's office agreed to pay the Cross family $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

David Cross was born and raised in Santa Cruz. He attended Harbor High School. As an adult, he started working in his father's plumbing business, and went on to become an accomplished plumber and a member of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local #62 for nearly twenty years. His last large job was as a foreman on a project at the power plant in Moss Landing.

In his obituary, Cross was remembered as an animal lover and was described by his family as, "a very sensitive man with a soft heart."



Read More:

SF Gate: Tentative accord in Santa Cruz jail death

Prison Legal News: California Jail Restraint and Tasering Death Settles for $3 Million

Lawyers and Settlements News: Restraining Chair Death

Legacy.com: Obituary of David Anthony Cross

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Earlier Report on the Killing of David Anthony Cross in 2005Robert Norse et. al.Saturday Jun 20th, 2020 2:30 PM
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