A man whose mother died in 2017 while in custody for an alleged violation stemming from a petty theft case is suing Los Angeles County and the City of Long Beach, saying she was denied medical care that could have saved her life despite her complaints of not feeling well.
Nathaniel Riley, son of Angela Lynn Connor of Westminster, filed the wrongful death complaint Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages. Representatives for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the county’s jails, and the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Connor pleaded no contest in June 2016 to petty theft and was ordered to perform 61 hours of community service, according to her son’s court papers.
Connor, who died Nov. 2, 2017, at age 42, had been arrested five days earlier by Long Beach police on a petty theft diversion program violation allegation and had in her possession at the time a hypodermic needle with heroin, the suit states.
“Despite knowing or having reason to know that she was in need of immediate medical care, defendants failed to take reasonable action to summon such medical care,” the suit states.
Connor was “suspiciously” not brought before a judge at the Bellflower courthouse until five days after her arrest, the suit says. Afterward, she was returned to a courthouse holding cell and complained of vomiting and feeling cold, according to her son.
Connor later died in her cell and the Sheriff’s Department said the cause was a heart attack, but her death certificate stated the cause of death was “pending investigation” and the coroner’s autopsy reported her death to be an “accident,” the suit states. The report also listed heroin addiction, methamphetamine and “possible heroin withdrawal syndrome” as “conditions contributing” to her death, the suit states.
Despite knowing of Connor’s “serious medical condition,” she received no aid that could have saved life, the suit alleges.
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