Settlement for man who died in police custody approved by Atlanta City Council, APD responds

The Atlanta City Council approved a $3.75-million settlement on Monday with the family of 32-year-old Ricky Dorado, who died during a police confrontation near downtown Atlanta on August 2022.

Family attorneys say Dorado was having a mental health episode and was under the influence of drugs when Atlanta Police responded to a disturbance call more than two years ago.

A report stated Dorado was acting erratically, harassing motorists.

When police arrived, Dorado fled into a gas station. A group of officers found him, used pepper spray and a Taser on him, and then brought him to the ground, face and chest down.

The officers were able to handcuff him, but they kept him pinned down in the same position for at least 16 minutes. Dorado could be heard on body camera footage saying he could not breathe multiple times.

After several minutes without fighting, police say Dorado was uncuffed, turned over and administered NARCAN and chest compressions until EMS could arrive.

He died a short time later.

An autopsy performed by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the placement of Dorado on the ground by police played a pivotal role in that suspect going into cardiac arrest and ultimately dying.

It was eventually ruled a homicide.

Attorneys for the family said his death was preventable:

"The misconduct of several police officers employed by the city resulted in Ricky's untimely death. He was unarmed, and his death was completely preventable."

The Atlanta Police Department issued the following statement on Tuesday:

Upon Mr. Dorado's death, the Atlanta Police Department's (APD) chain of command was notified and the APD's Office of Professional Standards began an internal investigation. The department also notified the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and asked them to initiate an independent investigation into Mr. Dorado's death. At this time, the GBI investigation as well as the APD's internal investigation remain open.Three officers involved in the incident with Mr. Dorado were placed on administrative assignment, pending the outcome of the investigations. One of the officers has since left the department and the other two remain on administrative assignment.The outcome of the GBI and APD investigations will be made available to the public upon their conclusions.

The officers were identified as Officer Quinn Green, Officer K. Woods and Sgt. Jerome Jones. APD did not say which officer is no longer with the department. 

While no lawsuit had been filed, attorneys notified the city of legal action, initially reaching up to $17.5 million in damages.

Fulton County District attorney Fani Willis, has launched an investigation.