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Wife seeks $34 million from Newport Beach after husband hangs himself in jail

A Newport Beach woman is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages from the city, claiming police erroneously arrested her husband who had bipolar disorder. Her husband then killed himself in jail.

Sandy Wedgeworth, 34, and family members filed four claims against Newport Beach this week seeking upward of $34 million for emotional distress, loss of a husband and father, and loss of future earnings.

William Robert Wedgeworth, 43, hanged himself with bedsheets in a Newport Beach Police Department jail cell July 31. Police had arrested him earlier in the day on suspicion of spousal abuse against his wife. She said she wanted her husband to get psychiatrict help, not be arrested.

"This is a sad and tragic loss," said Newport Beach City Atty. David Hunt. "We take it very seriously, and we've done a thorough investigation into the circumstances underlying it. We concluded there was nothing we could've done to prevent it. The jail is safe, and our officers did their job correctly."

Read the Daily Pilot story here.


Family of victim killed by since-fired LAPD officer awarded $1.7 million

Jury finds ex-LAPD officer liable in 2008 killing

-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News

Comments () | Archives (86)

let me get this the wife gets the husband arrested husband hangs himself and the wife is suing the police dept. i guess u can sue for anything.

I remember reading about a lawsuit in New Jersey years ago,which since the city was broke and lost the suit.The suitor was given the jail.

The Newport Beach PD is not the best police force in Southern California. They tend to be lazy and have real attitudes. I am a friendly and courteous person (especially when talking to police) and the few times that I needed to call Newport PD for something... they took forever to get there, didn't want to make the effort of filing a report, and gave me attitude for no reason.

I'm sure there are good cops in the Newport Beach, but I have yet to meet one. It's amazing how they show up quickly to break up parties, respond to noise complaints, and arrest drunks at bars... but won't file a simple theft report for property under a $1,000!

"...said Newport Beach City Atty. David Hunt..." "...The jail is safe, and our officers did their job correctly."
Hmmm, "safe"..."did their job correctly"... might we safely or correctly call this a conundrum?

last time I checked, the wife can;t dictate what happens to her husband. If she calls the police and he (suspect) hits his wife or assaults her, by law he has to be arrested.

shes to blame.

She should file against the city for 500 million dollars on behalf of
excessive force, cruel treatment, and abuse of privileges.
Police officers take this kind of no-risk actions to decorate themselves to
abuse a human being no matter whether they are sick and need help.

While I have compassion for the wife, the police have done their jobs...protecting a woman from physical abuse. The lesson here..if there is one, is that people should understand that when you call the police, you are inviting armed intrusion into a dispute. Police protocol is to "run a check" on everyone at the scene and arrest as many as possible. Why? Because that arrest will generate thousands of dollars for the city regardless of outcome with bail, legal process, penalties, federal funding for housing criminals, probation fees, etc. You should only call the police when everything else (including getting in your car and leaving) has failed. Otherwise, you are taking a huge risk.

The police don't run anything. the cons control the jails. The police dept can place the blame on this inmate's bipolar condition, but that is just a convenient excuse. These new inmates are sexually abused from the time they enter the jail until the day they leave on their feet or in a box. This could be avoided if the state would put cameras in numerous locations. Today, these cameras are inexpensive. The system would require fewer guards due to the cameras. Management knows this, but they still let this barbarism continue.

If the jail was safe, how was he allowed to hang himself (if he really did it to himself). If a prisoner dies while in custody, I hardly think the jail can be classified as "safe."

If the officers acted correctly, how come they didn't stop him from being hanged (or committing suicide)? When the police take someone into custody, they are accepting responsibility for that person's welfare. Allowing a prisoner to be hanged is not meeting that responsibility.

If there is a decision to be made by a cop, you can rest assured it willmake the wrong one!!!

All though it is sad for the loss of any human life, he made the choice to hang himself, not the cops, not the jail, not the prisoners...he did.

And she thinks it is the jails fault?

Sorry for your loss lady, but YOU need to be put in jail for clogging up our court system.

Sounds like somebody's looking for a little money; after all, she DID call the cops.

i feel for the wife...but considering she called the police because of her hubby's violent behavior and he got arrested (which is clearly what she wanted during this incident)...and then "he" decided to kill himself...i dont think she should get millions of dollars...having said that...it sure seems like more and more cops are corrupt these days and these types of things can be avoided with a little intelligence on behalf of officers and jail guards!!

even if they are arrested...these are still human beings...this sounds a lot like the young lady in malibu who they just tossed out on the street...after she clearly showed signs of mental illness...cops dont need to treat all arrests the same...sometimes a little compassion will go a long way...and maybe would result in more people trusting law enforcement!!

The officers best at watching over inmates and the safety of their jail just doesn't seem to measure up. To prove my point, I'll bet it will be a cold day in hell before anybody else hangs themselves in their jail. In the meantime, somebody better start to fork over some cold hard cash.

I guess you didn't get it Mike b. the wife wanted to get help from the officers regarding the husbands bipolar disorder. Unfortunately when officers are called out on a domestic dispute someone invariably goes to jail. It's the price a family pays for services rendered on a house call.

So when the lady said he needed a Psych Evaluation they knew better and put him in a cell.. Sounds about right. Have they concluded if the fellow had any help hanging himself??

Hmm....he is threat to his wife and he was arrested before for spousal abuse. His wife called the police again to take him away, so that she can be safe. Now he is dead and she is safe but she needs money....

I hope you win the lawsuit I have seen police kill rape an a lot more and the d a will do oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Most of you people are stupid - well I'm just basing it on your comments.

I cannot believe how Money Hungry the people in California are.
The state must be ridden with vermin of the Legal gender.
The life there is ALL ABOUT MONEY, regardless of whom you go after.

A man is dead while in CUSTODY of the NB police but
"the jail is safe and the officers did their job correctly"....
I wonder what would happen if some dies in my home and all I have to say is "my home is safe and I did my job correctly" ....would somebody sue me?

How is money going to solve anything? She needs to go out and get a job now. What a novel idea. Then there's that black lady in LA whose son got shot in the neck. He looked perfectly healthy on the news. If they do end up getting money (I'd give them NOTHING), it should be put in a trust for just him and not his mom. His mom should not get a dime. But then again, why are these people sueing?

Why the heck were ther bed sheets in the cell? It's normal practice to take belts and shoe strings away from prisoners so they cannot hang themselves. Newport Beach should just get heir checkbook out.

Who'd like to bet he was already on Psych drugs for his
"bipolar condition"? She probably should be suing big pharma if anyone...

$34 million? This was her plan all along! Get rid of her husband and get rich.

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