Ron "Ronnie" Settles was a California State-Long Beach star student-athlete who was stopped and arrested by the Signal Hill Police Department in 1981 and murdered while in police custody.


The morning after his arrest, Ronnie was found severely beaten and dead. Police officers claimed that they found Settles hanging in his jail cell from a noose, created from a mattress cover, from which they cut him down; however, police elected not to take photographic evidence of the hanging and refused to testify—pleading the fifth.  In 1982, a jury in a Los Angeles coroner's inquest ruled that Settles had died “at the hands of another,” and not his own. The case was an early high-profile case masterfully lead and litigated by Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., who represented the Strong-Settles family. 


Ron’s case was one of several highly controversial deaths of arrestees in the 1970s and 1980s. He is survived maternally by four aunts, three uncles, and seventeen first cousins.

Ronnie Football Player
Journey to Justice by Johnnie Cochran Jr.

Journey To Justice

Chapter 8: He was our pride and joy

Madelyn Strong Woodley, the youngest sister to the seven remaining siblings of Helen Strong Settles, and aunt of Ron Settles established the initial groundwork of Ronnie’s legacy by initiating a conversation with her dear friend, the late Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.,Esq., about her desire to honor Ronnie and his parents through the dedication of the Memphis Cochran Firm’s conference room.