Gray’s family will receive $2.8 million during the 2015 fiscal year, which began in July, and $3.6 million next year. The settlement must still be approved by mayoral-controlled spending panel, which is expected on Wednesday. Gray died on April 19th while in police custody, a week after being arrested by Baltimore police. Six officers have been indicted and face a pre-trial hearing on Thursday.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the city of Baltimore reached a settlement agreement regarding the death of 25-year old Freddie Gray. According to a statement from the Mayor’s office on Tuesday, the $6.4 million settlement will resolve all civil claims between the city and Gray’s family members, but it does not indicate an admission of liability by the city or of wrongdoing by the officers who arrested Gray before his death. Elaborating on the terms of the settlement, Rawlings-Blake said that the agreement “should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial.” Gray’s family will receive $2.8 million during the 2015 fiscal year, which began in July, and $3.6 million next year. The settlement must still be approved by mayoral-controlled spending panel, which is expected on Wednesday. Gray died on April 19th while in police custody, a week after being arrested by Baltimore police. Six officers have been indicted and face a pre-trial hearing on Thursday.
According to city attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, Gray died as the result of a spinal cord injury after being improperly arrested and shackled while being loaded into a police van. Mosby believes the injury occurred while being transported inside the back of the vehicle. Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the van, is facing second-degree murder charges, while officers Sergeant Alicia D. White, Lieutenant Brian Rice, and Officer William G. Porter are all facing manslaughter charges from the incident. Also, officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett Miller are facing assault and other lesser charges. Lawyers for the defendants believe that it will be impossible to receive an unbiased trial in Baltimore due to the large amounts of negative publicity and outrage in the city. Still, many legal experts believe that securing a conviction will be difficult, and that the settlement will provide residents with some sense of justice. In Thursday’s hearing, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams will decide whether or not he will allow the trials the six defendants, who are being tried separately, to be moved outside of the Baltimore area.
The incident sparked weeks of protests in Baltimore, with the National Guard being called in to quell the often-violent protests. It was one of several occurrences of mass-outrage following a controversial police incident over the past year, and the first of the incidents to lead to a grand-jury indictment of police officers. Protests and riots resulted after the acquittals of officers in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, and Cleveland prior to the announcement of charges in Gray’s death. Heeding a national call from President Obama and many police-reform advocates, terms of the settlement will also require Baltimore police officers to wear body cameras. The president announced last year that he would authorize $75 million in federal funding for the purchase of body cameras. Maryland Governor Gary Hogan also signed a bill into law in May that authorized body cameras for Baltimore city and Baltimore County officers.
Baltimore Sun – Yvonne Wegner and Mark Puente
New York Times – Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Washington Post – Keith L. Alexander