Damages awarded in 1998 jail death

An alcoholic and often homeless, Eduardo Calzada lived his life on the margins of Charlottesville society. He lived in Central Virginia for 15 years, taking construction or handyman jobs around Charlottesville, periodically disappearing for long stretches to binge on alcohol. On his left forearm Calzada had his name tattooed in blue ink. He once told his girlfriend, “In case they find me dead someday, they’ll know who I am."

C-VILLE covered the story of the death of Eduardo Calzada in its February 1, 2000 issue. See "Marked Man."

In October 1998, Calzada did end up dead, on the floor of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Police picked up Calzada in front of the Hampton Inn on West Main Street. When they brought him to the jail, officers reported no blood or apparent injuries. Jail guards forewent a medical report, writing that Calzada was “combative,” though other reports have indicated he was passed out. Officers dressed him in a jail uniform, rolled him on his side, and locked him in a cell.

By 7:30am the next morning, Calzada was dead. Autopsy reports found brain hemorrhaging
consistent with severe head trauma and several bruises to Calzada’s face and arms. Though some surmised police brutality, it was never proven in court.

Co-counsel for Calzada’s estate, Deborah C. Wyatt, says being drunk is “a non-incarcerable offense… If they’re unconscious you take them to the hospital. You don’t take them to jail.” Calzada’s estate is also represented by Charlottesville attorney Neal L. Walters.

In a March 12 judgment, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Margaret P. Spencer, subbing in the Charlottesville circuit, ruled that jail guards Phillip Barfield, Christopher Bibb, Asiberia Igbani, John Woodson and Jerome Hill, who all had contact with Calzada that night, should pay $250,000 in compensatory and $100,000 in punitive damages. Several other defendants, including Charlottesville police officers, are due in court this August.

Calzada’s former girlfriend, Crozet resident Karen Payne, is acting as personal representative for his estate. Damages awarded will go to Calzada’s two children or other family members.

C-VILLE welcomes news tips from readers. Send them to news@c-ville.com.

Posted In:     News

Previous Post

Marked Man

Next Post

Let's get ready to rumble

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

Leave a Reply

0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of