The wheels of justice which often grinds exceedingly slow is finally coming to its conclusion for the Lum family of Lathrop.
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, nearly six years after a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the parents of UC Berkeley graduate Jeremy Lum who died in the summer of 2009 right after being released from the Sheriff’s custody, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors is poised to review and then vote on an out-of-court settlement to bring the litigation to a close.
The $1.5 million settlement is reportedly a record amount in San Joaquin County for a wrongful death lawsuit.
The supervisors will meet in the board room on the second floor of the county building at 44 N. San Joaquin St. in Stockton. The meeting will start at 9 a.m.
“This is very bittersweet for me,” said Connie Lum Perez who not only shared the same birthdate with her late nephew but also celebrated the red-letter day together every year without fail.
“It’s been a long hard fight,” said Jeremy’s mother, Dorothea Timmons, about the long and drawn-out legal process.
In conjunction with the latest legal development, the nonprofit organization, Justice for Jeremy, which was formed by Lum Perez and a group of volunteer supporters soon after the untimely death of the Sierra High honors graduate, is inviting the public to join members and the Lum family at noon in “a public awareness” gathering in front of the County Courthouse at 222 E. Weber Avenue just across the street from the Board of Supervisors building in downtown Stockton.
“This is the time we have been waiting for specifically for Jeremy.... Our voices and yours can be heard and our collective presence will be seen and felt,” read the statement posted on the official Justice for Jeremy website on Facebook.
“This is a call out to all of our faithful supporters who joined this group not only for justice for our Jeremy Lum, but for all of those affected by situations similar to his. We kindly ask for you to join us, as a show of solidarity for Jeremy, the reason why this group was formed. We’d be forever grateful to those of you who can be there, with your signs and JFJ shirts (to be provided if you don’t have one) to show them that injustices like these will not be tolerated or suppressed any longer.”
Lum Perez said the end of the lawsuit does not mark the end of the mission of Justice for Jeremy “This will go on,” she said of the mission of the organization to raise public awareness and on mental health, among other objectives.
The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court, Eastern District of California by the young victim’s father and mother, Timmons and Jerry Lum in August 2010.
The civil rights wrongful-death lawsuit named as defendants the City of Lathrop, San Joaquin County, Sheriff’s sergeants Walters and Steve Pease, and 50 unnamed individuals. The two were the deputies assigned to the City of Lathrop, which contracts its police services with the county, at the time of Lum’s death in July 2009.
Jerry Lum, Jeremy’s father, served as chairman of the Lathrop Municipal Advisory Council which was the precursor to the City Council that was formed when Lathrop became as incorporated city in 1989. Timmons was a one-time Miss Lathrop and a community leader and volunteer.
Background of the lawsuit
Jeremy Lum was arrested and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges of intoxication in the early morning hours of July 9, 2009. It was later revealed that Jeremy was experiencing a bipolar episode. After spending overnight at the county jail, he was released at 7 a.m. on July 9 and then vanished. A search ensued including by air. Among the volunteers were his father, a Civil Air Patrol pilot. At approximately 5 p.m. on July 12, his body was spotted floating in the San Joaquin River approximately two miles west of the county jail. He was 28 years old at the time of his death.
For more information about Justice For Jeremy, its mission and related stories, go to www.JusticeForJeremy.org or go to Justice For Jeremy on Facebook.