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National City OKs $300K Settlement With Earl McNeil's Family

Earl McNeil, who died after an encounter with the National City Police, is shown in an undated photo.
Tammy Davis
Earl McNeil, who died after an encounter with the National City Police, is shown in an undated photo.

Years of litigation between the family of Earl McNeil, National City and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department came to a close Tuesday when the City’s Council on Tuesday gave final approval to a $300,000 settlement with the McNeil family.

The 40-year-old McNeil died in 2018 after being restrained by officers.

National City OKs $300K Settlement With Earl McNeil’s Family
Listen to this story by John Carroll.

Early on the morning of May 26, 2018, McNeil showed up outside the headquarters of the National City Police Department, saying there was a warrant out for his arrest, that he wanted to turn himself in and that he wanted to “kill Jesus.”

RELATED: What Happened To Earl McNeil?

Officers arrested McNeil, but he resisted and spat at them. They put him into a restraint device called The Wrap, a system that binds the legs and wrists while allowing a person to sit upright. They also put two spit hoods over his head and took him to jail. But a nurse at the jail refused to have him booked.

Court documents show a deputy at the jail placed a t-shirt over the spit hoods.

Paramedics were called and just after they arrived, McNeil stopped breathing. They were able to resuscitate him, but he never regained consciousness and his family terminated life support about two weeks later.


The County Medical Examiner determined McNeil died of brain damage caused by respiratory arrest. An autopsy showed he had meth in his system.

In September 2018, District Attorney Summer Stephan decided no charges would be filed against any law enforcement officers involved in McNeil’s death.

RELATED: Review Of McNeil In-Custody Death Finds Sheriff’s Deputy Violated Procedure

Video: National City Approves $300,000 Settlement With The Family Of Earl McNeil

In March 2019, McNeil’s widow and other family members sued National City and its police chief, along with several officers and sheriff’s deputies. They accused law enforcement of using excessive force and failing to provide critically needed medical care.

In May of 2020, the National City City Council voted unanimously to approve a $300,000 settlement and all parties agreed to it last month. Tuesday’s council vote was also unanimous, giving final approval to the settlement.

A separate suit against the manufacturer of the restraint device is pending.

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