Tag: wrongful death

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

Officer Who Shot and Killed Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter

Philando Castile (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by via madamenoire.com

Prosecutor John J. Choi of Ramsey County, Minnesota announced today that Officer Jeronimo Yanez will face three criminal charges for shooting and killing Philando Castile in July. Castile’s death, if you will recall, came just a day after the police-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Choi said that Yanez’s use of deadly force was not justified as he “never removed or tried to remove” the gun he had in his pocket during the traffic stop. Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. The latter charges were applied since both Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old child were present in the car and put in danger during the shooting.

Officer Yanez killed 32-year-old Philando Castile on July 6 during a stop in Falcon Heights. The St. Anthony police officer shot Castile after spotting his gun, and the New York Times reported that Yanez’s lawyer claims that Castile didn’t follow commands. However, in Facebook live video recorded by Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, she said that Castile was license to carry his weapon and was trying to make Yanez aware of his gun when he was shot.

The livestream video showed Castile bleeding with the officer standing nearby, and it was viewed millions of times. Those who knew Castile had nothing but great things to say about the school cafeteria manager following his death, and those who didn’t know him, for the most part, were demanding action.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Yanez is the first officer since 2000 to be charged in a police-involved death in Minnesota, this despite there being more than 150 deaths involving police in the state since that time.

To read more, go to: Officer Who Shot And Killed Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter

New York City to Pay $4.1 Million to Family of Akai Gurley

article by Niraj Chokshi via nytimes.com

New York City has agreed to pay more than $4 million to the family of Akai Gurley, the unarmed man killed in a Brooklyn housing project in 2014 by a police officer on patrol, according to a lawyer for Mr. Gurley’s family.

The city will pay the bulk of the settlement, $4.1 million, said Scott Rynecki, who represents Mr. Gurley’s domestic partner, Kimberly Ballinger, and their 4-year-old daughter, Akaila Gurley. The New York City Housing Authority will pay an additional $400,000, and the officer, Peter Liang, will pay $25,000, Mr. Rynecki said.

The settlement, reported by The Daily News, was finalized on Monday afternoon by Justice Dawn M. Jimenez-Salta of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, after two months of negotiations. Efforts to reach a lawyer for Mr. Liang and the city’s Law Department late Monday were unsuccessful.

Mr. Gurley was killed on Nov. 20, 2014, by a ricocheting bullet fired by Mr. Liang, who was on a night patrol in a dark stairwell in the Louis H. Pink Houses in the East New York neighborhood.

To read full article, go to: nytimes.com/2016/08/16/nyregion/new-york-city-to-pay-4-1-million-to-family-of-akai-gurley.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=1&referer=https://t.co/SpMejO12oM

Family of Avonte Oquendo Settles Wrongful Death Suit against NYC, Receives $2,700,000

Avonte Oquendo
Avonte Oquendo (photo via FACEBOOK)

article by Breanna Edwards via theroot.com

The city of New York is paying out $2.7 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of Avonte Oquendo, the 14 year-old autistic child whose body was found in New York’s East River in January 2014 three months after he disappeared from his Queens, N.Y., school, the New York Daily News reports.

The suit accused school officials and the New York Police Department’s school safety division of negligence for not monitoring the exit doors of the school and not properly supervising Avonte, who was nonverbal and also had a history of being a flight risk.

“The loss of a child is a tragedy no family should endure, and hopefully, the resolution of this legal matter will bring some measure of solace to Avonte’s family.” the city’s Law Department spokesperson, Nicholas Paolucci, said.

“The Department of Education has taken a number of steps and is dedicated to taking every measure possible to prevent something like this from occurring again,” Paolucci added.

To read full article, go to: http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/07/new-yorck-city-settles-with-family-of-avonte-oquendo-for-2700000

Issa Rae’s GoFundMe for Alton Sterling’s Children Reaches Over $660,000

Issa Rae (photo via Facebook.com))
Issa Rae (photo via Facebook.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to theurbandaily.com, Issa Rae, star and creator of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the upcoming HBO series Insecure, in an effort to take positive action after the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier this week, started a scholarship fund for his children.  t not only exceeded its $200,000 goal within hours, it is currently at over three times that amount, at $664,986.

“Can we get a scholarship fund going 4 #AltonSterling’s son/kids?” she tweeted Wednesday (July 6). “Some of us feel helpless when these things happen, but that’s a small step.”

Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, was fatally shot by police outside of a Louisiana convenience store on Tuesday. A graphic video of the altercation shows Sterling being held on the ground before being shot multiple times in the chest and back. The incident has sparked national protest, and a civil rights investigation has been opened by the Justice Department, the New York Times reports.

If you would still like to donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/2d3eze7g

It’s Something: U.S. Department of Justice Launches Investigation into Alton Sterling Shooting

Police shooting victim Alton Sterling (photo via nydailynews.com)
Police shooting victim Alton Sterling (photo via nydailynews.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

By now, most have heard about the latest in the incredibly disturbing string of homicides of black citizens at the hands of local police.  Alton Sterling was shot and killed after two police officers approached him on Tuesday evening for selling CDs near a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to CNN, the state’s governor, John Bel Edwards, announced that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will investigate the shooting.  Edwards added that the Middle District of Louisiana’s U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI will also assist in the investigation.

Officers say they arrived at the scene when an anonymous 911 caller reported a man threatening him with a gun. A struggle ensued between Sterling and the two officers. Sterling was pinned down, then shot multiple times in the head and chest, eventually succumbing to his injuries.

The encounter was caught on camera and went viral yesterday evening, sparking protests and national media attention.  After observing video of the encounter, Edwards said he had “very serious concerns.”

“The video is disturbing to say the least,” he added.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said he is also committed to working with federal investigators.

At a morning press conference, Sterling’s family tearfully condemned the actions of the BRPD officers involved in the shooting, asking for justice while visually broken and dismayed.

You can find more information on this story here.

Family Of Eric Garner Gets $1 Million Settlement from Staten Island Hospital

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: A protester holds up Garner's photo while walking on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
A protester holds up Garner’s photo while walking on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

 

The family of slain Staten Island man Eric Garner received a $1 million settlement from the area hospital that dispatched paramedics to the scene of his fatal encounter with police. In court documents obtained by the Associated Press, the details of the settlement were initially confidential and not part of an earlier settlement the family was awarded last July, reports the news agency.

From the AP:

The settlement with Richmond University Medical Center is confidential and wasn’t part of the $5.9 million agreement announced by the city in July. But the figure was disclosed in court documents filed in Surrogate’s Court on Staten Island that outline how the money will be dispersed to his family. Garner left no will.

The figure is the maximum claim allowed under the hospital center’s liability insurance policy, according to court papers.  The hospital center had no comment on the settlement, according to spokesman William Smith. Garner’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The court documents highlight that the paramedics did not properly assist Garner after Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold maneuver to bring the larger man down in the July 2014 incident.

Two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians were suspended without pay but eventually were reinstated and reassigned to jobs that did not involve patient care.

Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, will get $2.4 million of the total settlement funds according to the court documents. Garner’s children will get monies ranging from $195,000 to $996,000.

To read more, go to:  http://newsone.com/3359172/family-of-eric-garner-gets-1-million-settlement-from-staten-island-hospital/

University of Cincinnati to Pay $4.85 Million to Family of Samuel DuBose, Who Was Fatally Shot by Police

(Photo via cbs19.tv)
(Photo via cbs19.tv)

(CNN) The University of Cincinnati will pay $4.85 million to the family of Samuel DuBose, a man fatally shot by a school police officer, the family announced Monday at a press conference.

The school also agreed to set up a memorial to DuBose on campus, invite the family to take part in meetings on police reform and issue a formal apology, a press release from the family said.

The university will pay $4,850,000 to the family and also provide free undergraduate education to DuBose’s 12 children. the statement said. The education is valued about $500,000.

“The family is taking Martin Luther King’s words to heart,” Al Gerhardstein, a lawyer representing the family, said at the press conference, according to CNN afiliate WCPO. “He told us to be peaceful when we are faced with tragedy, and this family has worked peacefully over the last few months to resolve this terrible, terrible tragedy.”

Officer Ray Tensing fatally shot DuBose, 43, during a July 19 traffic stop over an alleged missing license tag.  The officer has said he was forced to fire his weapon after almost being run over. Authorities indicted Tensing on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges, partly because they felt body camera video contradicted his story.

The shooting outraged the African-American community in Cincinnati and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. DuBose was black and Tensing is white.  “I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make — totally unwarranted,” Deters said in the days after the shooting. “It’s an absolute tragedy in the year 2015 that anyone would behave in this manner. It was senseless.”

Tensing has pleaded not guilty and is free under $1 million bond. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for February 11, according to cincinnati.com.

When asked if the settlement indicated an acknowledgment of guilt from the university, UC attorney Nate Lampley Jr. said to WCPO, “It is an acknowledgment of a tragedy and an attempt to resolve it in a manner that was fair to both sides.”

According to the press release, University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono said, “I want to again express on behalf of the University of Cincinnati community our deepest sadness and regrets at the heartbreaking loss of the life of Samuel DuBose. This agreement is also part of the healing process not only for the family but also for our university and Cincinnati communities.”

article by Ralph Ellis via cnn.com

Chicago Mayor to Release Footage of Ronald Johnson Police Shooting

Ronald Johnson's mother Dorothy Holmes fights to have police video of her son's shooting released. (photo via CNN.com)
Ronald Johnson’s mother Dorothy Holmes fights to have police video of her son’s shooting released. (photo via CNN.com)

A year after backlash from the family and supporters of Ronald Johnson III, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced dash cam footage of the Chicago man’s fatal encounter with police in 2014 will be released next week.

Johnson, 25, was fatally shot by Officer George Hernandez eight days before the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The Chicago Tribune reports:

On the night he was killed, Johnson was in a car with friends when the vehicle’s back window was shot out by an unidentified gunman. Chicago police have said that Johnson, a known gang member, resisted arrest when officers responded to the call of shots fired and then ran.

During the chase, Hernandez, at the time a tactical officer in the Wentworth Police District, pulled up in an unmarked squad car and jumped out with his gun drawn, Oppenheimer said. The video, which Oppenheimer said he has seen many times, shows that within two seconds of getting out of his car, Hernandez fired five times at Johnson as he was still running away, striking him in the back of the knee and again in the back of the shoulder.

Autopsy results obtained by the Tribune show the fatal shot traveled through Johnson’s shoulder, severed his jugular vein and exited his eye socket.

Continue reading “Chicago Mayor to Release Footage of Ronald Johnson Police Shooting”

Street Sandra Bland Stopped On Renamed in Her Honor

Prairie View City Council members in Texas are hoping a road renamed after activist Sandra Bland will serve as a constant reminder of the injustices they say she suffered in Waller County, USA Today reports.

City officials are also hopeful that the road, which leads to Bland’s alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, will also encourage law enforcement to make better choices and always follow best practices when making stops on University Drive, which will become Sandra Bland Parkway for three to five years before the council votes on the matter again.

“I am overwhelmed, and I am just truly thankful to the city of Prairie View,” Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, said in a press conference here after the decision to rename the road.

“This is the first step, the very first step,” Reed-Veal said. “There’s still so much more that needs to be done.”

Bland, 28, was stopped on the same road July 10 for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. When Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia felt his power threatened by Bland’s wit and matter-of-fact tone, he arrested her on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

She was found hanging in her jail cell three days after her arrest, a death that has been ruled a suicide but is also being treated like a murder investigation. According to CNN, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating Sandra’s death.

“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”

Mathis said the case would go to a grand jury.

“There are too many questions that still need to be resolved. Ms. Bland’s family does make valid points that she did have a lot of things going on in her life that were good,” Mathis said.

Earlier this month, family members filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against arresting officer Encinia and two guards at the Waller County Jail where Bland died, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the county. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit states Encinia made up a reason to arrest Sandra and that jailers failed to react when she refused meals and “had bouts of uncontrollable crying.”

Bland’s family maintains that she never should have been stopped and arrested and they want the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

article via blackamericaweb.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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