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Peoria settles suit over robbery suspect’s killing by police

March 10, 2022 GMT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois city has agreed to a financial settlement to end a lawsuit filed by the family of a suspected bank robber who officers fatally shot during a 2017 standoff.

The Peoria City Council voted 10-1 on Tuesday to pay $415,000 to settle claims brought by Anita Johnson, the mother of Eddie Russell Jr., who was shot at least 17 times by officers, the (Peoria) Journal Star reported.

The city said in a statement that an independent investigation found that all the officers’ actions were justified and that it stands by “the actions of officers that day.”

“Nonetheless, given the high costs of further litigation and in the best interests of all involved parties, including Mr. Russell’s surviving family members, the City believes that a reasonable settlement was more preferable than the continuation of adversarial litigation,” the statement adds.

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Russell, 25, was allegedly seen on surveillance footage robbing a Peoria bank with a handgun in September 2017 before fleeing to his mother’s house. He was fatally shot there by officers after a two-hour standoff as he approached them with a gun, police said.

A lawsuit filed by Russell’s family in 2018 argued he was lifting his mother’s garage door with both hands at the time he was shot, that officers knew Russell had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and that he posed no immediate threat to Peoria police officers or anyone else.

An investigation by then-Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady found in January 2018 that excessive force wasn’t used by the officers, who fired nearly simultaneously from multiple positions near the home.