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Wichita settles lawsuit over police shooting of Black man

July 16, 2021 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The family of a Black man shot in the back by a white Wichita police officer in 2012 has reached a $900,000 settlement with the city.

The settlement comes just weeks before a lawsuit filed by the parents of 23-year-old Marquez Smart was set for a jury trial in federal court, the Wichita Eagle reported. Brenda and Randall Smart alleged in their lawsuit that police officers used excessive force.

The U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit in Denver found last year that a reasonable jury could conclude that by the time the final police shots were fired, Smart was on the ground with his arms stretched out. The decision reversed a 2018 ruling that had dismissed the suit on the grounds that the officers couldn’t be sued.

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No criminal charges have been filed against the officers.

City spokeswoman Megan Lovely declined to comment on the settlement.

“The fact is no amount of money can ever address the tragic pain and trauma caused by his death,” said attorney Ben Stelter-Embry, who represents the parents. “The family hopes that Marquez’s death will serve as a catalyst to effectuate systemic change within the Wichita Police Department so that no other families will endure their loss, trauma, or heartbreak.”