Jury finds Saratoga Springs police officers, city not responsible for Darryl Mount’s death
A Saratoga County jury has just decided that the city of Saratoga Springs is not responsible for causing the death of Darryl Mount.
Mount’s estate had sued the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the city, claiming that his death was caused by police brutality.
Police had chased Mount on Aug. 31, 2013, after they witnessed him shove his girlfriend against the wall outside a bar on Caroline Street. They tried to shoot him with a Taser, but he evaded police. Mount then climbed over a fence into a construction area. That’s when police said he fell from scaffolding. He was found face down in an alley.
Mount was confined to a wheelchair and died in May 2014.
After a two-week trial, the jury decided the city was not liable but did not award monetary damages.
Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday morning. Brian Breedlove, attorney for the Mount estate, said he believes that the officers acted after seeing Mount strike his girlfriend.
“Why would they do this? Well, when you’re in a chase, your heart gets pumping, your adrenaline gets pumping, and some men, and I would venture to guess most men, get angry when they see a woman treated that way. Payback. I’ll show you. You did that to her,” he said.
Breedlove said that no one heard a scream.
“If he fell from a scaffold at 20 feet, the first thing you would have heard was a scream. It didn’t happen,” he said.
Breedlove was asking for $10 million.
“Now that may be more than you think this value is for what he went through for those nine and a half months, it may be less. You make the decision,” he said.
“Patty Jackson, and I speak for her, would give ten million dollars if you could wave your magic wand and bring him back,” he added, referring to Mount’s mother.
John Aspland, attorney for Saratoga Springs, said that the plaintiff has not proven that police were responsible for Mount’s death.
“There just aren’t any facts to support it. There never have been and here we are after two weeks of trial and 10 years of litigation, and there still aren’t any,” he said.
Aspland said that each one of the officers testified that they didn’t strike the man, push him or see anybody do those things. He does not deny that it is an awful situation.
“What happened to Mr. Mount and his family, it’s heartbreaking, it really is. I told you in my opening I wasn’t going to say the man wasn’t hurt. He just wasn’t hurt due to anything the police did or anything that the city did,” he said.
Mayor Ron Kim issued a statement weighing in on the ruling.
“Darryl Mount’s death 10 years ago was a tragedy. The loss of a young man and fellow Saratogian left a void in our community. I’m glad a jury finally had the opportunity to weigh the evidence and reach a decision and am gratified the City will not face further liability,” he said in the statement. “It’s always been my view that because of the failure to conduct any investigation into the death of Darryl Mount, a jury trial was the only way for a final decision to be made. It is unfortunate that all parties had to wait 10 long years for this decision.”
In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly reported that the Saratoga County jury found the City of Saratoga Springs responsible for causing the death. We regret the error.