Family of man who died after violent struggle with LASD deputies wants them investigated

"The pain is still there, the anger is still there," said Eric Briceno's mother.

Carlos Granda Image
Thursday, November 3, 2022
Family who lost son after LASD struggle wants deputies investigated
Eric Briceno died after a violent struggle with sheriff's deputies in Maywood in 2020. His family said he was having mental health issues. Now, though the county approved a settlement payment for the family, they say they're still seeking justice.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved nearly $50 million in settlements Tuesday of litigation stemming from allegations of misconduct or excessive force by sheriff's deputies.

Among the settlements approved was a $16.2 million payment for the family of Eric Briceno, who died after a violent struggle with sheriff's deputies in Maywood in 2020.

Family members reported he was having a mental health crisis. Now, his family still feels the pain of losing their loved one.

"The pain is still there, the anger is there," said Eric's mom Blanca Briceno, who spoke with Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

She said though it's been more than two years since her son's death, she still cries every night.

"Not only they took my son's life, but they took ours. They took our life of peace, tranquility, and happy holidays," she said.

For this year's Día de los Muertos, the grieving mother has an altar to remember him.

In 2020, Blanca Briceno called the sheriff's department to get help for her son. She said he was having mental health issues.

READ ALSO | In LA, many mental health calls to police are ending in tragedy. Here's what we found

In more than half of the nearly 3,000 serious use of force incidents reported between 2016 and 2019, civilians had some type of impairment. People described as having a mental health problem or as "erratic" were most likely to die as a result of these serious incidents.

She said when deputies arrived, everything was calm and her son was sleeping, but deputies insisted on going into the house.

She says deputies deployed a Taser on Eric Briceno and punched him repeatedly.

"They beat him up just like, worse than an animal. They killed him, and I saw all of that, so I see that image in my mind. I can't take it away," said Blanca Briceno.

According to the coroner's report, Eric Briceno died of cardiopulmonary arrest due to neck compression and restraint with a Taser.

Several other cases were also settled, adding up to $47 million.

"Quite frankly, when I reviewed the agenda, I was astonished that we have continued to see high settlement amounts that stem from one department, and that's the sheriff's department," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell.

The attorneys for the family said investigators actually blamed Eric Briceno for the incident.

"How Eric, who is tortured to death, becomes the perpetrator, and he is the person who was accused of a crime ... what this reflects is a very deepm inability of the sheriff's department to investigate itself," said attorney Sonia Mercado.

Eyewitness News contacted the sheriff's department, but it wouldn't comment, citing pending litigation.

Meanwhile, the the Briceno family said this is just the beginning. They said they will continue to fight to get charges filed against the deputies involved in this incident.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.