Los Angeles to pay $1.35 million to mother of man who died in LAPD custody

LA City Council awards $1.35 million to mother of man who died in LAPD custody

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

City Council members voted 10-0 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 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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