News Flash


Posted on: August 25, 2020

Ford v. City of Santa Rosa

News Flash_City Logo

SANTA ROSA, CA –  A settlement has been reached between the City of Santa Rosa and Andy Ford in the case of Ford v. City of Santa Rosa. This settlement was reached amicably, formally, and finally resolved all issues concerning the Complaint. A monetary settlement was reached in the amount of $575,000, each side to bear their own costs.

Santa Rosa resident Andy Ford is a United States Army veteran who suffered a serious brain injury while serving in Afghanistan. While on patrol in the Kunar Province in 2010, Mr. Ford’s unit was ambushed while on a narrow mountain road. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded directly in front of him, hurling him into the air. He suffered severe burns, extensive damage from shrapnel and a traumatic brain injury. After his initial recovery, Mr. Ford returned to his unit and completed his tour of duty in 2012. Mr. Ford was awarded a Purple Heart for his bravery. 

As a result of his traumatic brain injury, Mr. Ford now suffers from an untreatable, and at times debilitating, seizure disorder. The lawsuit, now settled, arose from Mr. Ford’s arrest by Santa Rosa Police on February 12, 2018 under difficult circumstances.

On February 12, 2018, an on-duty officer was flagged down by an individual requesting assistance. The individual pointed to Mr. Ford who appeared disoriented, unsteady and non-verbal. Mr. Ford did not respond to the Officer’s questions, ignored the Officer’s directions, and began to stumble into the adjacent busy roadway. When the Officer attempted to prevent Mr. Ford from entering the roadway, Mr. Ford became aggressive and fought back with physical strength. The Officer called for both medical assistance and police back-up. Ultimately, multiple officers were involved in subduing Mr. Ford, with two injured from Mr. Ford’s direct aggression. When medical assistance, including an ambulance and Santa Rosa Fire, arrived at the scene, a paramedic recognized Mr. Ford. Aware that Mr. Ford was a war veteran with a seizure disorder, he administered a sedative. Mr. Ford was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, treated and diagnosed with a seizure, and medically cleared for booking into the Sonoma County jail on charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Ford’s confusion, agitation and combativeness at the scene were perceived as deliberate hostility and resistance to the officers, and the matter was referred by Santa Rosa Police to the District Attorney for possible prosecution. The District Attorney initially filed a felony complaint against Mr. Ford, but after completing a fuller investigation, including further review of medical records, the District Attorney dropped the charges, finding insufficient evidence of criminal intent in light of Mr. Ford’s medical condition. It was determined that Mr. Ford’s behavior was an involuntary and unconscious result of his seizure disorder, and thus that Mr. Ford lacked the intent necessary for his actions to be considered a crime.

Mr. Ford filed suit against the City of Santa Rosa and the individual police officers, alleging (a) violation of Mr. Ford’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, (b) violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment against wrongful arrest, and (c) malicious prosecution. Mr. Ford alleged that the responding officers failed to comply with police academy training with respect to interactions with individuals experiencing seizures, omitted critical information in their incident reports, and failed to provide appropriate Miranda warnings. The City, on behalf of itself and the responding officers, deny any liability or material error in what were very challenging and dynamic circumstances.

After conducting initial discovery, the parties to the lawsuit entered into extensive settlement negotiations, ultimately reaching final agreement for resolution of the matter in early April, 2020. In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement acknowledged several policy reforms which are now in various stages of implementation within the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Following this incident, the Santa Rosa Police Department expanded training to address health issues and better identify disabilities. The Department’s Command Staff is currently training its officers on seizure recognition, improved response to violent seizures, and awareness of the unique needs of people with epilepsy who might be taken into custody. The Santa Rosa Police Department, to best meet the needs of the community, continues to implement national best practices, as recommended by the Epilepsy Foundation, for policing involving persons with epilepsy and seizure disorders.


Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Home

Amended Health Officer Ordered Issued

Health Order Amendment

Posted on: September 23, 2020
News Flash_City Logo

Statement from the City of Santa Rosa

Posted on: September 22, 2020
StoneFarmLeases_AgArea 300x189

Parcel for Lease - Stone Farm

Posted on: September 8, 2020
Man wearing mask, serving food outdoors

Stay Safe Santa Rosa

Posted on: August 6, 2020
News Flash_Public Safety Subcommittee Meeting_8.7.20

Public Safety Subcommittee Meeting

Posted on: August 5, 2020

Council Goal-Setting

Posted on: July 31, 2020
buffered bike lane E Street

E Street Bike Lanes

Posted on: August 5, 2020
News Flash_Serving During COVID19

Serving Santa Rosa During COVID-19

Posted on: July 31, 2020
News Flash_Board Vacancies

City of Santa Rosa Board Vacancies

Posted on: July 30, 2020

Statement from Chief Navarro

Posted on: July 14, 2020
City of Santa Rosa

Actions for Change

Posted on: June 29, 2020
City Connections Newsletter

City Connections Newsletter

Posted on: January 1, 2020
City of Santa Rosa logo on American Flag background

Santa Rosa Remains an Indivisible City

Posted on: February 19, 2020
Get involved in your community

Applicants Sought for Board Vacancies

Posted on: February 18, 2020
"Welcome home" keychain with flowers in background

New Milestone Reached in Rebuild Areas

Posted on: February 13, 2020
Chinese dragon dance at public event

Community Promotions Funding

Posted on: February 13, 2020
Joe Rodota Trail Update

Joe Rodota Trail (JRT)

Posted on: February 3, 2020
Downtown Accessibility Improvements News Flash

Downtown Improvements

Posted on: January 30, 2020
Joe Rodota Trail Update

Joe Rodota Trail (JRT)

Posted on: January 16, 2020
CA Census 2020

Census 2020

Posted on: January 1, 2020
Vice Mayor Victoria Fleming

New Vice Mayor

Posted on: November 26, 2019
Coffey Neighborhood Park Construction News Flash home page

Park Construction Underway

Posted on: November 25, 2019
BFC Silver Designation Announcement News Flash main

Silver-level National Recognition

Posted on: November 25, 2019
Downtown Parking Update

Update on Downtown Parking

Posted on: November 21, 2019
Last October

City Wildfire Documentary

Posted on: October 4, 2019
Get involved in your community

Applicants Sought for Board Vacancies

Posted on: February 18, 2020
FEMA Public Assistance Project Dashboard

FEMA Public Assistance Projects Dashboard

Posted on: December 19, 2018
Public Art Walk_news flash

Public Art Walk

Posted on: September 19, 2018
Santa Rosa Parks Foundation Logo

Help Restore Santa Rosa City Parks

Posted on: March 22, 2018
Rows of crops at a farm with an orange sky in the background.

Community Promotion Funding

Posted on: December 28, 2016

Permit Santa Rosa

Posted on: December 28, 2016