Baltimore reaches $6.4 million settlement with Freddie Gray’s family

The family of Freddie Gray, who died after being critically injured in police custody, reached a $6.4million wrongful death settlement with the city of Baltimore, resolving civil claims about a week after the first hearing in the criminal case against six police officers, officials said on Tuesday.

Six Baltimore police officers face criminal charges stemming from Gray’s death. Gray, who was black, was critically injured on April 12 in the back of a prisoner transport van after he was arrested.

His death sparked protests, rioting and unrest that shook Baltimore for days.

The settlement still needs the approval of a board that oversees city spending.

The five-member board controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake meets on Wednesday.

‘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,’Rawlings-Blake said in a news release.

She continued: ‘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.’

The proposed settlement does not resolve any factual disputes, and expressly does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the city, its police department or any of the officers.

The settlement has nothing whatsoever to do with the criminal proceedings, the press release said.

The payment is larger than the sum of settlements from more than 120 other alleged police brutality and misconduct lawsuits brought against Baltimore Police since 2011, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Between last fall and 2011, the city paid a total of $5.7 million in police-related court judgments and settlements, according to the Baltimore Sun. Since last fall, the city has paid more than $600,000.

If the settlement is approved, it will be paid out over the course of two years. The city will pay Gray’s family $2.8million during the current fiscal year and $3.6million during the next year, starting in July 2016.

Gray’s family includes his mother, Gloria Darden; father, Freddie Gray Sr; stepfather, Richard Shipley; and twin sister, Fredricka Gray.

By entering a settlement, the City of Baltimore avoided a public lawsuit that could have played out in court.

Initial police reports from the day Gray was apprehended said he was arrested with a knife, though whether Gray was legally carrying that knife is sure to be a centerpiece of the case as it moves to trial.

Prosecutors say it’s legal under a city ordinance, while defense attorneys argue that it’s a switchblade, and thus illegal under both city and state law.

All six officers, including Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, are 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, while Officer Caesar Goodson faces the most serious charge of all: second-degree ‘depraved-heart’ murder.

Three of the officers are black and three are white.

On Thursday, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williaml will hold a hearing to determine whether the trial should be moved from the largely black city of about 620,000 people because of the uproar over Gray’s death.

Source: The DailyMail

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