The family of a well-known chef and restaurateur who hanged himself in County Jail last July filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol officer who arrested him.
Alberto Petrolino, who owned Terra Brazilis in Hayes Valley in the late 1990s, hung himself in the jail shower three days after he was arrested by officers responding to a report of a man threatening to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge on July 25, 2015.
California Golden Gate Bridge Patrol officers found Petrolino drunk and asleep on a parking lot bench, the San Francisco Examiner previously reported. The CHP officer who arrived at the scene performed a mental health review and decided to book Petrolino for pending misdemeanor warrants.
The lawsuit alleges Petrolino’s civil rights were violated when he was taken to jail instead of a hospital, and that he should have been placed on suicide watch at jail rather than being placed in regular housing.
“My dad didn’t have to die,” his son, 22-year-old Fabio Petrolino, said in a statement. “We are suing to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”
According to the lawsuit, Petrolino had a history of alcohol abuse.
The Examiner previously reported that the assistant public defender who represented him in court noticed how sad he looked and requested a mental health evaluation.
Legal representation for the Sheriff’s Department responded at the time that the department would not be the agency responsible for conducting such a review.