Before he was sentenced to prison for groping, fondling and sexually assaulting more than 20 women during a two-year span, San Diego County sheriff’s deputy Richard Fischer was one of six deputies who contributed to the death of a man who had called 911 for help.
That man, Lucky Phounsy, had called 911 on April 13, 2015 after going more than three days without sleep, leading to him having paranoid delusions that someone was out to harm him and his family, according to the lawsuit filed by his family.
But as we’ve seen many times in the past, deputies wasted no time in escalating the violence against him because they are only trained to hurt, not help.
The lawsuit states he was at first relieved to see the first two deputies arrive but he became frightened and confused when they tried to handcuff him. Then they started tasering him.
Soon, more deputies arrived, including Fischer, and they all piled on top of him, hog-tying him and placing a sock over his face, then placing him facedown in the ambulance.
By the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital, Phounsy’s heart had stopped beating and he had stopped breathing. Hospital staff were able to restart his heart but the lack of oxygen to his brain had done its damage and he died a few days later.
This week, a jury awarded Phounsy’s family with an $85 million verdict – reportedly the largest police abuse verdict in the history of San Diego County, according to the Times of San Diego.
However, had the San Diego Sheriff’s Department fired him for his actions in the death of Phounsy, he would not have been in a position to sexually assault more than 20 women over the next two years, resulting in more than $4 million in settlements.
After all, the incident involving Phounsy took place in April 2015 and the sexual assaults allegations against him did not begin until November 24, 2015 when the first woman filed a complaint against him, alleging he had sexually assaulted her in July of that year.
Over the next two years, an additional 20 women came forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting them. Read a timeline of the allegations here.
Fischer at first denied the allegations, claiming to be the victim instead of the predator, telling local media in 2018 that “these false allegations are extremely hurtful and disheartening.”
But the following year he accepted a plea deal that allowed him to plead guilty to four (non-sexual) felony assault charges, resulting in him not having to register as a sex offender which is a trend among cops accused of sex crimes.
He was sentenced to 44 months in prison in December 2019 but was then released in May 2020 because of “custody credits” he had already served, according to NBC San Diego.
And he remained free for 19 months until December 2021 when prosecutor admitted it was a “clerical error” that led to Fischer’s release. He was sent back to jail and is expected to remain in prison until March 2023.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department is expected to appeal the jury’s verdict of $85 million.