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Salt Lake County Agrees to Pay $75,000 to Settle Jail Suicide Suit

On September 15, 2008, Salt Lake County, Utah agreed to pay $75,000 to the family of an ex-cop who killed himself at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail.

Arthur Anderson was arrested in January 2006 after his wife accused him of ramming his pickup truck into her car and shooting her boyfriend in the leg and abdomen.

He was also charged with shooting at police, who in turn shot Henderson in the knee and foot. Previously, Henderson had been fired from the Lehi Police Department after being convicted of simple assault.

When Henderson was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, a doctor determined that he was at high risk for committing suicide. Henderson allegedly told the doctor, “There is a 60 percent chance I’ll be dead in the morning.”

Henderson spent his first ten days at the jail in the mental health unit, but was later moved to a maximum-security wing.

Over the next few months, Henderson’s suicidal tendencies continued to manifest. According to the lawsuit filed by his family, Henderson cut himself with a piece of his cast, banged his head against the floor and tried to choke himself with plastic bags from a sack lunch. In February 2006 he was diagnosed with having chronic suicidal ideation, but not in-tent to actually commit suicide.

Henderson hung himself in April 2006 with his bed sheets in his cell. Lawyers for Henderson’s family alleged that “[The] jail was aware or should have been aware of the danger Mr. Henderson was to himself, and such awareness cre-ated or should have created a heightened duty of care.”

The county did not admit any wrongdoing in agreeing to settle the case. Nate Bryan, a spokesman for the District At-torney’s Office, said a county insurance policy covered the settlement.

Henderson’s family was represented by Kevin Sutterfield of Flickinger & Sutterfield, a Provo, Utah law firm. See: Henderson v. Salt Lake County, U.S.D.C. (D. Utah), Case No. 2:08-cv-00272-BSJ.

Additional source: Daily Herald

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Related legal case

Henderson v. Salt Lake County