Def Jam Records Facing Wrongful-Death Suit

Def Jam Records Facing Wrongful-Death Suit
A shooting victim’s mother says there was inadequate security at what police said was a promotional event.
By Jeff Leeds
Times Staff Writer

March 6, 2003

The mother of a reputed gang member has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Def Jam Records, saying the label and a Los Angeles club provided inadequate security for the party at which her son was slain in October.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from Def Jam, which is owned by Vivendi Universal, and the Conga Room, the popular Latin dance club where the party occurred, in connection with the shooting death of Jerry Bonds.

Party organizers “knew or should have known that foreseeable criminal acts were likely to occur unless strict steps were taken” to secure the event, the suit said. It was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Police initially said the party was a promotional event featuring music from Def Jam artists.

In a statement Wednesday, the label said: “While we have not seen the complaint, this was not a company-sponsored event.”

Gary Jacobs, an attorney for the club, called the attack “an isolated incident” and said he “believes the Conga Room will be exonerated, based on our investigation of the events of that night. We certainly feel sympathy for the family.”

Police said Bonds was killed after a fistfight in an upstairs hallway escalated. Bonds had the upper hand in the fight when the suspect drew a gun and shot him, police said.

Bonds was reputed to be a member of the Southside Crips, the Compton gang that police suspected of orchestrating the murder of rap star Tupac Shakur, according to Compton police documents. The rapper was gunned down in 1996 in Las Vegas.

Bonds was never a suspect in Shakur’s killing, but police identified him as an associate of Crips gang member Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, named in police documents as the man who shot Shakur.

The suit was filed Tuesday by Bonds’ mother, Beverly Jackson, who could not be reached for comment. In the past, Bonds’ relatives have denied that he was a gang member.

Los Angeles police said Wednesday that they were continuing to pursue suspects in Bonds’ slaying and requested that more witnesses come forward.

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