July 11—Three years after being paralyzed in an encounter with Yuba City police, 67-year-old Yuba City resident Gregory Gross recently received more than $20 million in a settlement to pay for his injuries and subsequent care .
Gross was arrested on April 12, 2020 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Appeal records. During the arrest, Yuba City police officer Joshua Jackson threw Gross’ face first to the ground, breaking his neck and paralyzing him while his hands were cuffed behind his back, Gross’ attorney Moseley Collins said.
Police body footage obtained by Collins shows Gross being taken to the ground by Jackson, a maneuver Jackson called “pain compliance.” According to Collins, Gross followed all of the officer’s orders at the time of the arrest.
Body camera footage showed Jackson and other officers dismissing Gross’ pain and crying that he couldn’t breathe or feel his legs.
“It will continue to hurt if you don’t shut up and listen,” Jackson said in the footage.
After being transported to Adventist Health/Rideout Hospital in Marysville, video footage shows Gross lying on the ground outside, his face covered in blood. Several times after he was lifted off the ground, Gross could be heard saying, “I can’t feel my legs.”
Gross was diagnosed with quadriplegia the night of the incident and required two spinal fusion surgeries at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, Collins said at a news conference Tuesday.
As a result of his injuries in the incident, Gross has some degree of paralysis in all four of his limbs and faces significant paralysis in his hands. Collins said that despite surgery, Gross’s spine was irreversibly damaged.
“He will need daily care for the rest of his life. He will need medical care. He will need nursing care, and the care he needs is going to cost millions and millions of dollars,” Collins said Tuesday.
Gross also filed separate lawsuits in 2021 against both hospitals alleging their actions contributed to his condition. Collins declined to comment on the status of the lawsuits, citing confidentiality.
Jackson has not been employed by the Yuba City Police Department since 2021, police officials said earlier.
Gross’ total settlement in the lawsuit against the police is $20,354,000. Collins said their first goal in pursuing this case was to make sure Gross would have enough money to take care of himself without having to rely on government agencies. Their second goal was to make sure that incidents like this don’t happen to anyone else.
“We are not against the police. We are for the police. Police are needed and I am grateful for the work they do. We are only against police brutality when it happens,” Collins said.
As an example of this sentiment, Collins presented Yuba City Police Chief Brian Baker with a $20,000 check for the California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation.
At the press conference, Baker apologized to Gross for Jackson’s behavior and spoke of the steps the police have taken to prevent future instances of excessive force.
“I have replayed the events of April 12, 2020 in my mind countless times. You have been on my mind ever since this tragedy was brought to my attention. I am disappointed by the actions of a few selected members of our organization on that day. The actions of specific officers are indefensible,” Baker said. “The Yuba City Police Department is committed to providing a high standard of service to our community through professionalism and treating others with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, on April 12, 2020, we missed the mark. And before that, sir Gross, I’m Sorry.”
According to Baker, police have regularly conducted random audits of body camera footage since this incident. Officers who fail to use their body cameras during interactions with the public will be held accountable, he said.
“Every incident of violence we have is reviewed by supervisors and managers within the organization. Since this incident occurred, members of our staff have undergone de-escalation training, along with countless discussions on how to deal with people without using inflammatory remarks or words. use,” Bakker said.
Gross said he is happy to have received an apology, but his life has been changed forever. While Gross is mobile using a wheelchair, his persistent pain only allows him to sit upright for up to two hours a day. He needs the help of a caregiver to eat, shower and perform daily activities.
“I feel good that I got an apology,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I thought I would end up in a nursing home somewhere, but this way I can stay at home and pay for my own care and my own house with the wheelchair. … It’s over now and Moseley helped me. I am happy and grateful.’