Police Brutality Alleged in Man’s Death Following Encounter With Anaheim PD

Perkins in the hospital. Photo from GoFundMe

The death of Justin Perkins at a local hospital last week didn’t make headlines at the time, despite him having sustained injuries following an altercation with Anaheim police in late October. Few details are available regarding the circumstances of the incident. But the family of the deceased 38-year-old Anaheim resident has retained legal representation in the search for answers.

According to the Anaheim Police Department, officers arrived at the Madison Park apartment complex on the morning of Oct. 27 after receiving word that a man appearing to be under the influence of narcotics allegedly assaulted another man who worked at the property. The department cited “preliminary information” in a press release later that day stating another physical altercation occurred when officers attempted to arrest Perkins.

Police made an emergency call for backup and Perkins went into full cardiac arrest minutes after being taken into custody. Paramedics arrived to transport him to a nearby hospital where he was listed in critical condition. Two Anaheim police officers also suffered injuries described as “serious” and were taken to the emergency room following the altercation. The story died after that.

“There are, of course, a lot of questions that need to be answered,” says DeWitt Lacy, an attorney with the Law Office of John Burris. “What we were told by witnesses is that the officers acted very brutally towards Justin, who did not act violently against them, and that Justin was struck several times in his head with batons, which by any law enforcement standard is a use of deadly force.”

Lacy is representing Perkins’ mother and plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the family. At this time, the names of the officers involved are unknown–the Weekly filed a public records request with the city to obtain them. The police department also couldn’t provide information related to the injuries sustained by the officers, citing health privacy law.

“There was an officer who complained about being bitten during the struggle,” Lacy says, noting witnesses his firm has spoken to. “I don’t know if that happened. What we can say is that both of the officers who reportedly suffered serious injuries had been taken to the hospital. They were also released shortly after that.”

The same can’t be said for Perkins, who died on Oct. 31. Lacy alleges that Perkins covered his head with his hands to defend against batons swing and punches. “We believe that these officers utilized a choke hold, which ultimately led to the death of Justin Perkins,” he adds. “If there was a confrontation, we believe the officers should’ve utilized deescalation training.”

As Lacy awaits an autopsy report, the attorney claims that Perkins’ internal organs suffered severely due to a lack of oxygen. The firm also doesn’t have a toxicology report but Lacy states that medical staff only found trace amounts of marijuana in his system during attempts to revive him. “There’s no indication that Justin had any kind meth, cocaine or opioid in his system,” he says.

Officers at the scene wore body cameras that were activated, according to the police department. The footage may be an important piece of evidence as the Orange County District Attorney’s office investigates the in-custody death. The probe joins other similar cases in Anaheim this year. In March, Christopher Eisinger, a homeless man, was pulled off life support following an altercation with police. A few months later in June, an unidentified homeless man acting erratically died after officers attempted to arrest him.

Perkins is remembered by family members as a kind and loving person not known to be confrontational. They’re raising funds online to cover funeral and burial expenses, but also to raise awareness about mental health. Perkins is described to have been a person with developmental disabilities who lived with his uncle at the time of his death.

“The family deserves answers and wants answers,” Lacy says. “When police abuse is allowed to run rampant, people get hurt and sometimes they even die. Unfortunately, that is what we believe happened in this incident. We intend to get not only answers but justice for the family for an unnecessary death that didn’t have to happen.”

Justin Perkins will be laid to rest tomorrow.

Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!

6 Replies to “Police Brutality Alleged in Man’s Death Following Encounter With Anaheim PD”

  1. I was assaulted in my home by an intruder a couple years back and taken to , what seemed like an obscure, small inefficient dirty emergency room. While I was there, police brought in several people they had just arrested. The police were casually telling the staff in the er that one of the suspects they just brought in they had just “choked out”. I noticed he was unconscious. The officer told the staff he would be back later to pick him up.
    I was very upset about what I had seen and heard and just wanted to get out of there, but I wanted to know more. I asked one of the staff what was wrong with the person the officer just brought in? He just as casually as the officer relayed said the officer choked him out and they’re not allowed to do that, so they bring them to the er till they come to. At that point, my head injury was of no importance…I wanted out of there. My husband picked me up and I kind of blocked it out till I started following this story. Wondering if he was “choked out”?

  2. Nothing new for Anaheim its been this way for decades. Disney just has a way to make sure it doesnt get out. I have lived all over the OC and Anaheim was the only city i actually feared PD. Married to a Mexican man with deep roots in the city we were always being messed with.I even had to deal with a cop who stalked me when i was in my early 20s. Not cool.

  3. Anaheim.police don’t care about the people here they are all racist pigs. No respect for human life. Some thing never change. Anaheim is the KKK don’t let them fool you. I am not shared of them. I Know when this is posted they will come and beet my assignment but hey that’s Anaheim.police.

  4. Justin Perkins created the circumstances that led to his death. The officers didn’t seek him out, he sought out people to bully and attack.

    I hope the officer’s injuries were minor, and I hope they have a full recovery.

    I have no ill-will towards Justin Perkins or his family, but I don’t have a shred of sympathy for him either.

    1. How can you say he created the circumstances that led to his death? There is no indication that even suggests that he sought out people to bully and attack. This just goes to show that ignorance is alive and well.

      Anyone who knew Justin knew he didn’t deserve what these officers did to him. I doubt the officers were even injured, let alone “seriously” since they were released shortly after.

      Police officers are supposed to be trained in how to deal with different situations that arise in the execution of their duties with “deadly force” being the last option. That most certainly wasn’t the case here. The officers involved killed an unarmed man with developmental delays and did it in a heinous way. They should be brought up on charges because they are criminals. They are the reason that law-abiding citizens fear the police.

  5. So the police beat an unarmed man to death? Why are people surprised? This is what the police are, a gang of hyper aggressive thugs that use violence to solve any problem that confuses them. Since the police are mainly comprised of uneducated misfits they get confused very easily.

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