County agrees to pay $200K to diabetic who was kicked, shocked in Encinitas diner

The settlement ends an excessive force lawsuit brought by a man who tried to correct his diving blood sugar with a meal but became disoriented in the restaurant


San Diego County has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 to a pharmaceutical salesman who was put in a headlock and thrown to the ground, kicked and shocked with a Taser by deputies while he was having a low blood-sugar episode so dire that a paramedic later said it was “the lowest I’ve ever seen someone that’s still breathing.”

(File photo)

The payment to William Carr will settle an excessive force lawsuit he filed against the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and several deputies in the wake of the July 15, 2018, incident inside an Encinitas diner. The case was set to go to trial in San Diego federal court in September.

Carr had just finished playing drums with his band at a nearby church when his blood-sugar level dropped, according to court records and his attorney Joseph McMullen. Carr is a Type 1 diabetic who wears an insulin pump to help combat the disease.

He went to the East Village Asian Diner to get something to eat to raise his blood sugar, but while there, as his blood sugar continued to crater, he became disoriented and appeared to nod off while at the counter. A restaurant worker called 911 and soon five deputies confronted Carr.

Carr was able to tell the deputies his name, but his answers to other questions made no sense. Deputies believed he was under the influence of drugs. When he was unable to comply with their orders to leave the restaurant, they grabbed him off the seat and manhandled him, eventually pinning him against the food counter. Body-worn camera footage captured Carr calmly saying, “Please don’t. Please don’t. Please don’t,” according to a court filing.

He was then tased in the back and flung to the ground in a headlock where the deputies piled on top of him. He was tased twice more — the third time for five seconds until the device automatically shut off — before being handcuffed and carried outside, court records recounted. Paramedics arrived, and Deputy Jason Ferguson told them Carr “says he’s diabetic” and pointed to the insulin pump.

A paramedic took a finger-prick blood test which showed his blood-sugar level to be extremely low, leading one paramedic to be heard on the body camera remarking it was the lowest he had ever seen for someone who was breathing. They quickly gave him oral glucose to raise the level and took him to the hospital.

Deputies later charged him with trespassing and resisting arrest, but prosecutors declined to file a case. In the suit, county lawyers argued the deputies were justified in arresting Carr for trespass — the restaurant manager said he wanted him removed — and for resisting.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino declined to throw out the case. In a ruling last year, she concluded the deputies were partially immune from being sued for keeping Carr under arrest after they learned he was having a diabetic emergency, but she said they could be sued for both the excessive force and false arrest claims.