Los Angeles County officials are likely to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit by relatives of a mentally ill inmate who was beaten to death after deputies left him unsupervised with a group of gang members, the Los Angeles Times reports. The case involves the 2005 slaying of Chadwick Cochran, the victim of an alleged attack by two gang members who took turns jumping off a steel bench and stomping on the dying man’s head as other inmates watched.
The attack took place in the Men’s Central Jail in a room containing about 30 inmates. Deputies who could have been watching the inmates were instead searching cells in another part of the jail, looking for weapons and other contraband. sheriff’s officials said. In the last six months, the county has paid more than $6.5 million to resolve lawsuits over violence and medical care in the county jails. Since 2000, 15 inmates have been killed in the largest U.S. jail system, including most recently a mentally ill man who was strangled by an inmate awaiting trial for killing his cellmate in state prison.