Freddie Gray’s family has reached a $6.4 million settlement with the city of Baltimore in a wrongful death suit. Gray died of a neck injury earlier this year while in police custody after he was put in the back of a police van without being strapped and with his hands cuffed. Gray was 25-years-old at the time of his death.
The settlement has yet to be approved by the city’s Board of Estimates, the local institution that manages Baltimore’s spending. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is part of the board that will decide on the settlement tomorrow, Sept 9.
Just a week prior were protests surrounding a court hearing in which a judge decided that the six police officers involved with Gray’s death and arrest will be tried separately. The judge, Barry Williams, is currently reviewing whether to hold the trials in Baltimore or another jurisdiction.
Today, the mayor’s office announced that the deal would resolve civil claims against Baltimore, the police department as well as each officer indicted for Gray’s death. However, the city is not taking admission of liability for the death and is maintaining that this is independent of the criminal cases involved. Rawlings-Blake’s statement reads:
“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.”
Gray’s family is to receive $2.8 million this fiscal year while $3.6 million will be paid to them next fiscal year starting next July.
Experts reviewing the case receive the settlement as tool to assuage any frustration from the public if the officers indicted in the case don’t ultimately get convicted—something experts say may pose a difficult challenge.
Money isn’t the only factor in the settlement; the city has also agreed to require Baltimore police to wear body cameras, a requirement that is also part of a bill that was signed in May. Gray’s settlement is reminiscent of the $5.9 million deal reached between Eric Garner’s family and New York this July as well as the $3.8 million payout to Rodney King’s family from the city of Los Angeles in 1994.
[SOURCE: THE WASHINGTON POST]