Dead mother found in suitcase spurs lawsuit against San Francisco 

The grieving son of Pearla Ann Louis, whose body was found in a suitcase floating in San Francisco Bay a year ago, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against The City, alleging that police ignored his mother’s repeated pleas for protection against her allegedly abusive boyfriend.

On May 18, 2010, a young girl walking with her uncle on The Embarcadero at Folsom Street spotted the suitcase floating in the Bay. The suitcase turned out to contain the body of the 52-year-old Louis.

Two weeks later, cops arrested Louis’ boyfriend, 47-year-old Lee Bell of San Francisco, on murder charges. Bell pleaded not guilty. His case is awaiting trial.

On May 10 of this year, Louis’ son, Kareem Marshall, filed a lawsuit against SFPD alleging that cops could have prevented his mother’s death if they had not ignored Louis’ "numerous" pleas for help regarding her allegedly abusive relationship.

Marshall filed the suit without an attorney and said he is seeking counsel.

"She had literally been beaten to death by Lee Otha Bell, who was responsible for a series of increasingly brutal beatings, kidnapping, and unprovoked malicious assaults during the 11 months preceding her death," Marshall’s lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit claims Louis was a "frequent and well-known visitor" to the emergency and trauma units at San Francisco General Hospital, having been beaten almost monthly.

Louis suffered a long list of injuries over an 11-month period, including black eyes, horrible bruises and scars, and broken bones all over her body, the eight-page lawsuit claims. She was routinely strangled to the point of unconsciousness, it said.

The lawsuit accuses SFPD of disregarding Louis’ pleas as frivolous and meritless because "she was black, homeless, disabled, chemically addicted and a senior citizen."

It alleges that "no public officials took the time or interest to investigate and prosecute" Bell.

Marshall declined to discuss the lawsuit beyond what was written in the legal filing.

A spokesman with the City Attorney’s Office told The San Francisco Examiner on Friday that its office is reviewing the lawsuit and could not comment.

Meanwhile, Marshall, a Berkeley resident, said his mother’s murder has forever changed his life. The family has started a nonprofit organization in their mother’s name called "Protecting Abused Loved 1s," or P.A.L. Marshall said he has opened a bank account for the nonprofit that will be solely used to help domestic violence victims.

"The pain is still great," said Marshall, a hip-hop artist who said music has been the outlet for the grief he’s suffered. "It’s going to be there for the rest of my life."

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