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Kent to pay $4.4M to family of Black man police killed

April 15, 2021 GMT

KENT, Wash. (AP) — The city of Kent has agreed to pay $4.4 million to the family of Giovonn Joseph-McDade to settle a lawsuit saying police unnecessarily shot to death the 20-year-old after a brief pursuit and attempted traffic stop.

The family’s attorney, Craig Sims, confirmed the amount Wednesday and said the city also will install a memorial bench at the location of the shooting, The Seattle Times reported.

In a statement, the city defended the officer’s actions as being legal and within department policy.

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“This is a case that we were fully prepared to litigate and defend, but recognize in the best interest of the family, the officers involved and our community we need to resolve the matter and attempt to bring closure to those involved,” said Bailey Stober, the city of Kent’s communications manager, in a prepared statement.

The settlement is one of the largest in King County in recent years and comes two months after the judge in the case said evidence presented by Joseph-McDade’s lawyers raised “serious disputes” with officers’ claims that Joseph-McDade posed a threat to their lives or the safety of the public when Officer William Davis fired into the car after cornering it in a cul-de-sac.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein said evidence disputed claims that Joseph-McDade had fled from police at high speed and was poised to run over Davis fired at him.

The civil rights lawsuit was filed in 2020 by Joseph-McDade’s parents. They said they would hold a press conference Thursday.

Kent Officer Matthew Rausch had initially stopped Joseph-McDade on June 24, 2017, in the parking lot of a Kent convenience store for having an expired registration.