Relatives of a construction worker who was found hanged in his Torrance jail cell in 1988 have dropped their highly publicized lawsuit against the city.
Paper work requesting dismissal of the case was filed in Torrance Superior Court on Wednesday, ending a lengthy battle by 27-year-old Timothy McCauley's family to prove that he did not commit suicide.
City Atty. Kenneth Nelson said the dismissal came after the city agreed not to seek legal costs from the family.
"I think they realized there really was no case there," Nelson said. "There is a sense of relief on our part. We're cleaning up some of these high-visibility cases against the city that, like this one, didn't have any real significance."
McCauley's father, Donald, insisted in a brief telephone interview that the case did have merit, but declined to comment on why he had decided not to pursue it any further.
At the time the case was filed in October, 1988, the Police Department was facing a barrage of brutality accusations, ranging from the alleged cover-up of an accidental shooting of a motorcyclist to a videotape showing officers beating a young party-goer.
The McCauley case began late Aug. 10, 1988, when a police officer tried to stop McCauley for speeding. McCauley allegedly tried to run over the officer and then fled, crashing several blocks away after a high-speed chase.
Doctors gave McCauley a sling for a sprained shoulder and then released him to Torrance police, who placed him in a one-man jail cell. Shortly after noon on Aug. 11, McCauley was found dead with the shoulder sling around his neck, hanging from a grate in the cell's ceiling.