Baltimore to Pay 'Extraordinary' $6.4 Million to Family of Freddie Gray
The settlement is not an admission of liability and would not impact the criminal cases against six officers currently underway
The city of Baltimore plans to pay $6.4 million to the family of Freddie Gray, who was 25 years old when he died after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in police custody earlier this year.
The Baltimore Sun described the pending settlement, which would resolve any civil claims against the city, as "an extraordinary payment in a lawsuit against city police," noting that it is larger than the total of more than 120 other lawsuits brought against the police department for alleged brutality and misconduct since 2011.
The settlement is not an admission of liability and would not impact the criminal cases currently underway. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement on Tuesday she had proposed the payout in order to avoid "costly and protracted litigation" from the Gray family that she said "would only make it more difficult for our city to heal."
The settlement will be submitted to the Baltimore Board of Estimates for a vote on Wednesday.
Gray, who was black, was arrested after a foot chase in West Baltimore on April 12. He was bundled into a transport van while in handcuffs and shackles, and was not secured with a seatbelt. Gray reportedly asked for medical attention twice during a ride between the site where he was taken into custody and a police booking center.
He died a week later from a spinal injury. His death, ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, quickly became one more symbol of police violence against black people in the United States and sparked angry protests in Baltimore.
All six officers involved in Gray's death, three white and three black, were indicted in May. The trial will begin in October.
The Washington Post reports that "in addition to the financial payout, the settlement would also call for the Baltimore police department to begin requiring its officers to wear body cameras, according to the two people familiar with the agreement."
And A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore defense attorney, told the Baltimore Sun that the settlement was a "great move on the part of the city," with implications beyond this one case.
"I've always believed [that] when city started to pay real money. . .that we would see the issue of police brutality and excessive force be remedied and solved very quickly," Pettit said.
But as reactions rolled out on Twitter, some pointed out that no amount of money can compensate for lost lives or decades of injustice.
@deray No amount of money can buy the justice that the necessary criminal convictions would bring. Money can't buy accountability.
— Aaron Pauley (@aaronpauley) September 8, 2015
The people of Baltimore are literally paying for institutional racism. How expensive will that have to get? https://t.co/bFdBEtvCBE
— Loba Femme (@loba_femme) September 8, 2015
Freddie Gray: worth $6.4 million in court but priceless in our hearts #BlackLivesMatter
— rich homie fikes (@TESTIFAH) September 8, 2015