The family of Freddie Gray reached a $6.4 million settlement with the city of Baltimore, nearly five months after their 25-year-old son was critically injured in police custody, sparking days of protests and rioting. The deal was announced Tuesday and appears to be among the largest settlements in police death cases in recent years.
The settlement happened just days before a judge is set to decide whether to move a trial for six officers charged in Gray’s death. On April 12 Gray’s spine was injured in the back of a prisoner transport van after he was arrested. 25 year old Gray, a black man, died at the hospital a week later.
As a result, Gray became a symbol of the rocky relationship between the police and the public in Baltimore, as well as the treatment of black men by police in America. The settlement is still awaiting the approval of a board that oversees city spending and that board will meet Wednesday morning.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a news release “The proposed settlement agreement going before the Board of Estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial. This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages.”
According to an investigation by The Baltimore Sun the proposed settlement in the Gray case is more than the $5.7 million the city of Baltimore paid in total for 102 court judgments and settlements for alleged police misconduct between 2011 and last fall. The newspaper reported that Baltimore paid another $5.8 million for legal fees to outside lawyers who represented officers.
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