Tag: police brutality settlement

Philando Castile Family Reaches $3M Settlement with City of St. Anthony, MN

Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile (photo via eurweb.com)

by Amy Forliti via thegrio.com

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mother of Philando Castile, the black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last July, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city that employed the officer, avoiding a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve. The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile, who is the family’s trustee, was announced Monday and comes less than two weeks after officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges connected to her son’s death.

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile told the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun. The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. The acquittal of Yanez, who is Latino, prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul that shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests.

The $2.995 million settlement for Valerie Castile will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St. Anthony. The plan for distribution of funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks. Robert Bennett, who along with attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said a decision was made to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds.” The settlement will also allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said.

“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.” Bennett said the foundation’s mission is to provide financial support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence.

Bennett said Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, is not part of the settlement. Reynolds has also hired an attorney, but it’s not clear if she is still planning a lawsuit or has any standing for a federal claim. Reynolds’ attorney did not return messages Monday.

The settlement happened faster than others stemming from the killings of black men by police officers elsewhere. Last week, a $1.5 million settlement was reached in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That settlement came nearly three years after the death of Brown, whose parents sued the city.

Bennett said his decades-long relationship with Joe Flynn, the attorney who represented St. Anthony in Castile’s case, helped bring a quick resolution. He also said the city of St. Anthony has a commitment to make positive changes to their police department. The city is undergoing a voluntary review by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, with the goal of improving trust between the police department and the communities it serves.

To read full article, go to: Philando Castile family reaches $3M settlement in death | theGrio

Freddie Gray’s Family to Receive $6.4 Million Settlement From Baltimore

The settlement, which stemmed from a civil lawsuit filed by the family after Gray’s unlawful arrest and death in April, is said to be one of the largest in police brutality suits since 2011. According to the Sun, the settlement is “larger than the total of more than 120 other lawsuits brought against the police department for alleged brutality,” in years. The plan is scheduled to be approved by the city’s spending panel on Wednesday, the office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake confirmed.

“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,” the mayor said in a statement. “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.”

Unrest erupted after Gray’s funeral as human rights groups, protesters, activists, and residents of Baltimore City piled into the streets to call for reform of police practices and justice for the young man. Six officers involved in the arrest and transport of Gray have pled not guilty to a range of charges that include assault, false imprisonment, and even murder. A pre-trial motions hearing this week will determine if the six individual trials will be moved out of Baltimore.

From the Baltimore Sun:

The city is accepting all civil liability in Gray’s arrest and death, but does not acknowledge any wrongdoing by the police, according to a statement from Rawlings-Blake’s administration.

The mayor’s office declined to answer questions about the settlement, including why it was brought to the spending panel before any lawsuit was filed.

Under the proposed settlement, the city would pay $2.8 million during the current fiscal year and $3.6 million in next year, the city said. By entering into a settlement, the city would avoid a public lawsuit that could have played out in court. In such city settlements, a clause has stated that both sides cannot talk publicly about the case.

An attorney representing the Gray family has declined to comment on the settlement.

article by Christina Coleman via newsone.com

New York City Agrees to Pay Family of Eric Garner $5.9 Million

Mr. Garner and his wife, Esaw, during a family vacation in 2011. (Photo via nytimes.com)

New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July, the city comptroller and a lawyer for the family said.

The agreement, reached a few days before the anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death, headed off one legal battle even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.

Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk, and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. One of the officers used a chokehold — prohibited by the Police Department — to subdue him, and that was cited by the medical examiner as a cause of Mr. Garner’s death.

The killing of Mr. Garner, 43, followed by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, set off a national debate about policing actions in minority communities and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who used the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations. The protests eased after two police officers in Brooklyn were fatally shot in December by a man who said he acted to avenge Mr. Garner’s death.

The killings of the officers shook the city anew, deepening tensions between the police and Mayor Bill de Blasio and slowing a push to enact a host of criminal justice reforms. Last year, Mr. Garner’s relatives, including his widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carrfiled a notice of claim— a procedural step that must precede a lawsuit — against the city. In the notice, they said were seeking $75 million in damages. Since then, the family has been in talks with the comptroller’s office.

“Mr. Garner’s death is a touchstone in our city’s history and in the history of the entire nation,” the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, said in a telephone interview late on Monday. “Financial compensation is certainly not everything, and it can’t bring Mr. Garner back. But it is our way of creating balance and giving a family a certain closure.”

Continue reading “New York City Agrees to Pay Family of Eric Garner $5.9 Million”

Floyd Dent Settles Police Brutality Suit with City of Inkster for $1.4 Million

Floyd Dent Receives Settlement from Inkster Police Department (photo via my13.com
Floyd Dent receives settlement from City of Inkster (photo via my13la.com)

Floyd Dent has settled his lawsuit with the City of Inkster for $1.4 million.

However for Dent, who was beaten by Inkster police in a shocking attack caught on video earlier this year, becoming a millionaire is less important than improving police relations with the communities they are supposed to serve and protect.

Given the choice, Dent would rather be broke and never have had this happen.  “Money isn’t everything,” he said. “You can’t buy happiness.”

Dent says he hopes something good will come from the incident, a new beginning for Inkster.  “The city of Inkster needs to move on and service the great citizens of Inkster,” he said.

The Defenders broke the story, exposing video of police officers punching, kicking, and using a Taser on Dent after a traffic stop. The Defenders also uncovered a second video of police apparently imitating and mocking Dent at the police station instead of immediately him to a hospital for his injuries.

“I’m bleeding and asking for a doctor and they are sitting there joking and high fiving. That’s unreal,” Dent said.

After the video was revealed, prosecutors dropped assault and drug charges against Dent and instead filed charges against William Melendez, the now-former Inkster police officer who punched Dent 16 times in the head.

Inkster also has a new police chief and two other officers were suspended. Now, with this a seven-figure settlement, Dent says a strong message has been sent about police brutality.  “Nothing like this will ever happen in Inkster,” Dent said.

Dent’s attorney Greg Rohl said the city stepped up to do the right thing for his client and for Inkster.

“At least some good can come out of all this,” Rohl said. “Floyd is proud of being the person that brought about this change.”

Becoming a millionaire may bring friends and relatives out of the woodwork, but Dent said the money won’t change him.

“There’s going to be be a lot of people ringing my doorbell. You know, long lost friends,” he said. “Do you have any plans for the money? No, not really, I’m going back to work. I miss work. I miss the people I work with.”

The settlement is not the end of this case. Dent still has to testify against Melendez in the criminal case.

Dent said he will tell the truth and let the justice system take care of it from there. He also knows his time in the spotlight is coming to an end, which is fine with him.

“I want people to remember me as an honest person that wasn’t afraid to go against the officers that done this to me and i want people to know that I’m grateful,” he said.

article by Kevin Dietz via clickondetroit.com

Chicago Police Torture Victims to Receive $5.5 Million in Reparations

In 2008, Aaron Cheney demonstrates outside the federal courthouse where former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was attending a hearing on charges he obstructed justice and committed perjury for lying while under oath during a 2003 civil trial about decades-old Chicago police torture allegations in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty)

The city of Chicago yesterday agreed to a $5.5 million reparations fund for the mainly African-American male victims of police torture under former and disgraced police commander Jon Burge.  The proposed fund includes free city college tuition and counseling for at least 50 victims and their families, the Chicago Tribune reports. The long-sought reparations fund is widely being seen as the city’s effort to end the decades-long scandal that first came to light in the early 1990s.

Current inmates are filing lawsuits or alleging that their confessions had been elicited under torture. At least 20 additional cases, all alleging to have been Burge’s victims, have been identified.

Learn more about the proposed reparations plan in The Chicago Tribune.

Marlene Pinnock, Woman Beaten by California Highway Patrolman, Settles for $1.5 Million

pinnock_zps1d313f5a

Marlene Pinnock, the 51-year-old woman punched repeatedly by California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew on the side of a freeway in an incident caught on video, will receive $1.5 million under a settlement reached Wednesday night, and the officer has agreed to resign.

On July 1, a passing driver captured video of Pinnock being repeatedly pummeled by Andrew, and she filed suit in August.

marlenepinnock_zps31e51969The Associated Press reports that Pinnock and the CHP reached an agreement after a lengthy mediation.

“When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution,” CHP Commissioner John Farrow said in a statement. “Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved.”

The statement said that Officer Andrew, who joined the CHP in 2012 and has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, “has elected to resign.”

Andrew could still be charged criminally in the case. The CHP forwarded the results of its investigation of the incident to Los Angeles County prosecutors last month, saying he could face serious charges but none have been filed yet.

The bulk of the settlement will take the form of a special needs trust for Pinnock, the CHP said. Pinnock’s attorney Caree Harper said the settlement fulfilled the two elements her side was looking for.

“One of the things we wanted to make sure of was that she was provided for in a manner that accommodated her unique situation in life,” Harper said, “and that the officer was not going to be an officer anymore and we secured those things.”

article via forharriet.com

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