A look at big settlements in US police killings
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The attorney for George Floyd’s family said Friday that a $27 million settlement of a federal lawsuit by the city of Minneapolis is the largest pretrial civil rights settlement ever.
The settlement was announced as jury selection continued in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a white former city police officer accused in the May 25 death of Floyd, who was Black.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said the settlement “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end.”
Some settlements in police-involved deaths are kept private. Often a settlement includes money but specifies there was no admission of guilt. Some such lawsuits end up in court where a jury can award massive settlements that are whittled down on appeal.
Here is a look at other high-profile cases of police-involved deaths of Black and brown people and the settlements:
In September, the city of Louisville, Kentucky, agreed to pay Breonna Taylor’s family $12 million and reform police practices.
Taylor was shot to death by officers acting on a no-knock warrant. She and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were roused from bed by police. Walker said he fired once at the officers, thinking they were intruders. Investigators say police were returning fire when they shot Taylor several times.
The settlement stipulated reforms on how warrants are handled by police. No officers have been charged in Taylor’s death, but one officer faces criminal charges for bullets fired into another occupied apartment.
Taylor’s mother has filed complaints against the police, seeking an investigation into whether policies were violated in the investigation that led officers to her daughter’s door.
Seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot dead by Chicago police in 2014.
Nothing in the city’s recent history has created more distrust of City Hall and the police department than then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s unsuccessful legal battle to keep the dashcam video under wraps that shows Officer Jason Van Dyke shoot McDonald 16 times.
A jury found Van Dyke guilty in October 2018 of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in McDonald’s shooting. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
McDonald’s family sued for $16 million — a million for every bullet — but settled for $5 million.
Six Baltimore officers were charged in the April 2015 arrest and in-custody death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who died after being injured in a Baltimore police van, touching off weeks of protests.
Three officers were acquitted and prosecutors dropped all remaining charges in July 2016 following a hung jury. The U.S. Department of Justice decided not to bring federal civil rights charges.
Gray’s family agreed to a $6.4 million settlement with the city in September 2015.
Jeronimo Yanez, an officer in St. Anthony, Minnesota, was acquitted of manslaughter in the 2016 fatal shooting of Philando Castile.
The Black motorist had just informed the officer that he was carrying a gun. Yanez testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so.
The case in suburban St. Paul garnered immediate attention because Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook.
Castile’s mother reached a $3 million settlement and his girlfriend was paid $800,000 by the city of St. Anthony and others.
Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer in a recreational area in November 2014.
Officers were responding to a report of a man waving a gun. The boy had a pellet gun tucked in his waistband and was shot after the officers’ cruiser skidded to a stop just feet away.
A grand jury in December 2015 declined to indict patrolman Timothy Loehmann, who fired the fatal shot, and training officer Frank Garmback.
The city settled the Rice family’s lawsuit for $6 million.
Rookie New York City police officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter in the November 2014 death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley.
Liang, an American of Chinese descent, said he was patrolling a public housing high-rise with his gun drawn when a sound startled him and he fired accidentally. A bullet ricocheted off a wall, hitting Gurley.
A judge reduced the conviction to negligent homicide and sentenced Liang to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service.
The city settled with Gurley’s family for $4.1 million.
Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year-old, was fatally shot by a white officer, Darren Wilson, in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
A grand jury declined to indict Wilson, and the U.S. Justice Department opted against civil rights charges. Wilson later resigned.
The death of Brown led to months of sometimes violent protests and became a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement.
His family received $1.5 million.
Eric Garner, 43, died in July 2014 in New York City after a white officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.
A grand jury declined to indict that officer, or any others involved in the arrest. The Justice Department declined to file civil rights charges after a yearslong investigation.
The city agreed to pay a $6 million civil settlement.