Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced her decision to pay the family of Freddie Gray a $6.4 million civil settlement on Tuesday. According to The Baltimore Sun, Gray’s family including Freddie Carlos Gray Sr. and Gloria Darden filed a claim for compensation. Under the proposed agreement, the city would pay the family $2.8 million during the current fiscal year and $3.6 million next year, the city said. By entering into a settlement, the city would avoid a lawsuit that could have played out in public court filings and testimony. Such city settlements usually include a clause stating that both sides cannot talk publicly about the case. Gray’s multimillion-dollar wrongful-death settlement is rare in Baltimore. Only six payouts since 2011 exceeded $200,000 in the more than 120 police brutality-related claims. In all of those payouts, settlements came months or years after legal wrangling in court battles. Gray’s settlement is expected to be approved tomorrow by the city’s spending panel. Freddie Gray was arrested in April and suffered a spinal injury while in police custody. The 25-year-old died as a result of his spinal cord injuries.
Authorities say that a Durham, North Carolina man who said he was going to commit suicide was shot and killed by police Saturday morning, according to WNCN. The incident was first reported around 10:30 a.m. at 1702 Angier Avenue, which is at the intersection with South Plum Street, when police were called to the scene for “an armed suicidal male,” later identified as Lavante Trevon Biggs Durham Police said. “Officers made every effort to get the male to drop his weapon,” Wil Glenn, Durham Public Affairs Manager, said in a press release. “Hostage negotiators arrived approximately 20 minutes later and continued to attempt to get the male to drop his weapon for an extended period of time, preliminary understood to be well over 30 minutes,” Glenn added. At one point, the man “walked toward the officers while pointing the weapon,” Glenn said. Then, the officers fired their weapons, the twenty-one year-old was shot and taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead, according to Glenn. Four police officers—Officer Richard Armstrong, Officer Anthony Cisternas, Officer Landon Harvey and Officer Jason Holmes—have been placed on administrative leave with pay. The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident. The Durham Police Department’s Professional Standards Division and Criminal Investigations Division are also investigating the incident, which is also standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting.
On September 4, 2014 then-state trooper Lance Corporal Sean Groubert shot and wounded an unarmed man he had stopped outside Columbia for a seat belt violation. Groubert fired several times, hitting motorist Levar Edward Jones, now 36, in the hip, as Jones, standing outside his vehicle, reached back inside to get his driver’s license from his wallet. Dash cam video circulated and led South Carolina Department of Public Safety fired Groubert. Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson had Groubert indicted on a charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. As The State reports, last year marked a year since the incident, yet a trial date has not been scheduled.
According to the Associated Press, the Eutawville police chief was one of four South Carolina police officers charged with felonies for on-duty shootings in the past year. The officers in the other three cases are awaiting trials.
Richard Combs will have to spend a year under house arrest but won’t have to serve any prison time in the 2011 shooting death of an unarmed man. Prosecutors agreed on September 1 to drop a murder charge against Combs, the former police chief of Eutawville, in exchange for his guilty plea to misconduct in office. The murder charge carried a penalty of 30 years to life. Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson suspended a 10-year prison sentence for Combs as long as he completes his home detention and five years of probation.
Combs stood trial twice on the murder charge, but both cases ended with hung juries. Eutawville suspended Combs after the shooting and dismissed him several months later. The town reached a $400,000 wrongful death settlement with Benard Bailey’s family. Combs shot Bernard Bailey, 54, in May of 2011 as he tried to arrest him on an obstruction of justice charge weeks after he argued about his daughter’s traffic ticket on the side of a highway. Eutawville is a town of 300 people about 50 miles southeast of Columbia. Bailey came to a town hall to discuss the ticket and Combs told him he was under arrest. Bailey stormed out and got in his pickup truck and Combs followed, authorities said. Bailey was shot three times as he backed his truck out.
The jury in the first case voted 9-3 to convict Combs. The jury in the second case voted 8-4 to convict, with four jurors wanting to convict Combs of murder, four wanting to convict him of voluntary manslaughter and four who thought he was not guilty, Pascoe said in a hearing at the Orangeburg County courthouse.
A St. Paul, MN mother said Metro Transit Police mistreated her 17-year-old son, reports KARE-11. Maria Caldwell said police assaulted her autistic last Monday. At some point during the attack, witnesses say the teen suffered a seizure. The incident happened at the University and Lexington station in St. Paul. Caldwell said her 17-year-old son, Marcus Abrams, was standing on the train tracks moments before police approached him. When they approached, the teen said he was wearing headphones and couldn’t hear everything police said. The teen said he and two other friends were traveling home after working at the Minnesota State Fair. Abrams said officers accused him of being intoxicated or using drugs. The teen said that one officer grabbed his arm, as the other officer grabbed his wrist and slammed him to the ground. Abrams tried to get up but one officer had his whole body on his face and he difficulty breathing. Abrams was then transported by ambulance to Regions Hospital. Howie Padilla of the Metro Transit Police says the case that will be reviewed to make sure “department standard policy and procedures were followed.” He also said Metro Transit officers are required to take crisis intervention training. The teen is not facing any charges.