Leadership

Family Files $11 Million Claim Against Glendale (AZ) and Firefighters

A 30-year-old patient suffered a concussion when a pair of Glendale firefighters beat him during an October medical call at a home near 83rd and Glendale avenues, according to a multimillion-dollar notice of claim filed against the city and fire department this week, reports azcentral.com.

The family of James Murillo is seeking $11 million and attorney fees in connection with the incident, made public the day after it occurred when a neighbor posted a partial cellphone video of the fracas on YouTube. The video shows Glendale emergency crew members cursing and restraining Murillo and has nearly 70,000 views.

The claim was sent out Monday for service, but was pulled back to include a request for attorneys fees, according to Murillo’s attorney, who said he expects it to be delivered to the city this week. A notice of claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.

The firefighters were placed on administrative leave, and city officials launched a months-long investigation into the incident. The probe concluded that Glendale fire Capt. Sean Alford and firefighter Danny Padilla used excessive force when they punched Murillo five to six times to defend themselves after Murillo hit Alford in the nose with a back-handed blow that knocked off his glasses, mask and radio. The investigation also determined that Alford threatened Murillo and the life, health or well-being of Murillo’s parents when they tried to intercede.

“I didn’t believe it was happening,” Raul Murillo, James’ 55-year-old father said in Spanish about witnessing the incident. “It was incredible. I was scared.”

Fire Chief Mark Burdick, who apologized in October to Murillo’s mother for the language used by the firefighters, confirmed last week that he suspended Alford for two days without pay and Padilla for one day without pay. The men had been on reassignment since returning from leave and were slated to return to their normal positions after completing the suspension.

Murillo — who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar and multiple-personality disorders — suffered headaches, had difficulty chewing and experienced extreme nervousness that forced him to return to the hospital about four days after the incident, according to the claim. Medical staff diagnosed him with a concussion, facial contusion and post-traumatic stress disorder, the claim states.

The family moved out of Glendale about two weeks after the incident because, according to the claim, they feared for their lives and did not want to call the fire department again if Murillo had another seizure.

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