A woman settled her lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles that alleged officers at the Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Detention Center were negligent in the 2011 suicide strangulation of her 39- year-old son, a courtroom clerk said Friday.
The clerk for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy said the panel of prospective jurors summoned to the courtroom for trial was dismissed in the wake of the resolution of the case filed in October 2012 by Dianne Jordan, the mother of Kristopher Bindulski.
The attorneys could not be immediately reached and it was not immediately clear if the settlement is subject to City Council approval. In their court papers, lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office denied any liability on the part of the city to Jordan.
“It is axiomatic that (the) city of Los Angeles is not responsible for preventing the decedent from intentionally taking his own life,” according to the City Attorney’s Office’s court papers. “As a general rule, acts of suicide have been found to be unforeseeable events.”
Bindulski was sexually abused when he was 5 years old by a family member and later struggled with depression and abused alcohol, according to Jordan’s court papers.
Bindulski became a member of an Aryan Nations white supremacist gang while a teen in Phoenix, Jordan’s court papers stated. Bindulski was sent to prison when at age 17 and released when he was 23, Jordan’s court papers stated.
Things got better for Bindulski when he married in 2006 and worked as a forklift driver while also playing in various bands, according to Jordan’s court papers. But he and his wife divorced in 2011 and he was arrested twice that year, once for violating a domestic violence restraining order and again for the knifepoint robbery of a sex shop, where he apologized and shook hands with the clerk before leaving, Jordan’s court papers stated.
After the December 2011 sex shop robbery, he barricaded himself in his van for a while and was forced out by members of a SWAT team, Jordan’s court papers stated. He was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center suffering from tremors and depression, according to Jordan’s court papers.
“The medical staff was aware of (Bindulski’s) alcohol dependence and abuse,” Jordan’s court papers stated.
The city’s booking form showed that Bindulski was put in a segregated unit because he was a racist, even though no one testified that he made racial remarks to anyone, Jordan’s court papers stated.
A detention officer who entered Bindulski’s cell discovered that Jordan’s son hanged himself with a telephone cord on Dec. 5, 2011, the plaintiff’s court papers stated.
“He succeeded in strangling himself … and the video captured the entire event,” Jordan’s court papers stated.
Jordan was later pronounced dead at County-USC Medical Center, Jordan’s court papers stated.
Had safety checks been performed properly by detention officers, Bindulski’s suicide could have been prevented, Jordan said.
–City News Service