The family of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man whose death while in police custody sparked riots in Baltimore earlier this year, has reached a $6.4 million wrongful death settlement with the city of Baltimore. This comes about one week after the first hearing in the criminal case against the six police officers who face charges related to Gray’s death.
All six of the officers – three black and three white – have been charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter also face a manslaughter charge, and Officer Caesar Goodson faces the charge of second-degree “depraved-heart” murder. All have pleaded not guilty.
The settlement still needs the approval of Baltimore’s Board of Estimates, the governing body that oversees the city’s spending. The five-member board, which is controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, will meet Wednesday and is expected to approve the settlement.
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In making the deal, the city of Baltimore accepts all civil liability in Gray’s arrest and death, but does not acknowledge any wrongdoing by the police. In a news release, Mayor Rawlings-Blake stated:
The proposed settlement agreement going before the board of estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial. This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages.
If approved, the settlement will be paid out over two years, with $2.8 million being paid to Gray’s family this fiscal year, and $3.6 million in the fiscal year beginning next July. Also, according to two people familiar with the agreement, the settlement would call for the Baltimore Police Department to begin requiring its officers to wear body cameras.
This settlement would be larger than the $5.9 million wrongful death claim the city of New York agreed to pay to the family of Eric Garner. It would also exceed the $5.7 million total Baltimore has paid out in 102 court judgments in police misconduct cases since 2011, according to a 2014 Baltimore Sun investigation.
According to The Washington Post, “the settlement was reached before lawyers for the Gray family filed a lawsuit seeking compensation.”
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h/t: Yahoo News
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