Suit over death in cus­tody set­tled

L.A. will pay $1.35 mil­lion to the mother of a man who had a fa­tal asthma attack af­ter he was ar­rested.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Catherine Sail­lant catherine.sail­lant@la­times.com Twit­ter: @csail­lant2

The mother of a man who died of an asthma attack while in Los An­ge­les po­lice cus­tody will re­ceive a $1.35mil­lion legal set­tle­ment.

City Coun­cil mem­bers voted 10 to 0 Tues­day to ap­prove the set­tle­ment of the case brought by Juana Garcia, the vic­tim’s mother.

Jorge Azu­cena, 26, died about 40 min­utes af­ter he was taken into cus­tody by Los An­ge­les po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter run­ning a red light in South Los An­ge­les, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­nal city re­ports that were made public in Novem­ber.

Azu­cena had briefly led of­fi­cers on a chase on the night of Sept. 7, 2013, but was cor­nered and sub­mit­ted to ar­rest.

He told of­fi­cers that he had asthma and was hav­ing trou­ble breath­ing.

Of­fi­cers on scene, and later in a South Los An­ge­les jail, ig­nored his pleas for med­i­cal help, ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment and the Po­lice Com­mis­sion’s in­spec­tor gen­eral.

By the time paramedics were called, Azu­cena was slumped in a jail cell.

A coro­ner’s au­topsy found that an asthma attack had prob­a­bly been the cause of death and clas­si­fied it as an ac­ci­dent.

Dale Galipo, the at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the mother, said she was sat­is­fied with the set­tle­ment.

“It’s fair,” he said. LAPD “Chief Char­lie Beck rec­og­nized that his of­fi­cers should have ob­tained med­i­cal care for the dece­dent.”

An­other law­suit, brought on be­half of Azu­cena’s chil­dren, is also ex­pected to set­tle soon, said Arash Za­betian, an at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the chil­dren’s mother, Delmy Flores.

An of­fi­cial with the city at­tor­ney’s of­fice de­clined to com­ment be­cause the case is on­go­ing.

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