$250,000 Payment OKd in Death of Man After Arrest

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously agreed to pay $250,000 to end two lawsuits brought by the mother of a 55-year-old man who died after an altercation with Los Angeles police.

The award, which still must be approved by Mayor Tom Bradley, includes $150,000 in damages ordered in May by a federal court jury which concluded that a police officer used excessive force in arresting Hugh Thaddeus Clark of South Los Angeles.

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with Clark’s death.

He died Jan. 10, 1984, two days after a fight with police officers who arrested him on suspicion of public drunkenness near 50th Street and Broadway. Police had been called to the area by neighbors who said Clark, armed with a knife, was chasing children.


Ten days after the death, Clark’s mother, Goldie Dixon, filed suit against the three arresting officers. On May 15, a federal court jury found that one, Officer Carlton Bonner, had used excessive force in subduing Clark. The jury awarded Dixon $150,000 and unspecified attorneys’ fees.

The next day, Dixon filed a second suit against Bonner and Police Lt. Charles Higbie, who supervises investigations of officer-involved deaths. She charged that police covered up the circumstances of Clark’s death, a claim a department spokesman said had “no foundation.”

Deputy City Atty. G. Daniel Woodard said Friday that the $250,000 settlement includes the original federal jury award and attorneys fees for the first suit, and brings to an end the second suit.

Woodard said he felt the city had “good grounds” on which to win the second suit, but that city officials decided “basically to put it to sleep.”

Dixon’s attorney, Stephen Yagman, said his client would consider whether to accept the settlement if the mayor approves it.