The family of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a Black man who was shot by police in Louisiana, has accepted a $4.5 million settlement nearly five years after his death.
Baton Rouge police officers wrestled and shot the father of five back on July 5, 2016, outside of a convenience store. Video of his death sparked protests nationwide. Lawyers for Sterling’s children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, its police department and former police chief, and the two officers involved in June 2017.
The officer who shot Sterling was fired in March 2018. He appealed that decision and in 2019 he was allowed to withdraw his termination and resign retroactively instead. The officer who helped wrestle Sterling to the ground was suspended for three days.
The settlement “will allow the city to heal and provide a pathway for Mr. Sterling’s children to be provided for financially,” lawyers for the family said in a statement last Friday. Three settlement offers were rejected, according to the Advocate, before approving the final agreement in February, just weeks before a trial was set to begin.
The family moved last month to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges the shooting was part of a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by Baton Rouge police. “This settlement is an important step for our community,”
Mayor Sharon Broome said in a statement Friday. “As a community, we must work together to implement changes in policy and in our community to ensure that no other families in Baton Rouge will endure this loss, trauma, or heartbreak.”
Sterling’s children will receive $1 million upfront from the East Baton Rouge Parish’s insurance reserve funds, and the remaining money will be paid in equal installments pulled from the annual operating budget over the next four years, WBRZ-TV reported.