Summary: The family of Michael Brown has settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
In August 2014, unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer. The incident ignited a race war within Missouri, and it had many people across the nation asking, “Do black lives matter?” Now, nearly three years later, the city where he was slain has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with his parents, who are expected to receive a little less than $3 million,Â NPRÂ said.
Brown was walking home in Ferguson, Missouri, when he was stopped by Officer Darren Wilson. Â Wilson claims that he shot Brown, 18, because Brown had attacked him; but witness accounts said that Brown had put his hands up when Wilson fired.
Wilson was not charged with Brown’s death, but he left the Ferguson Police Department later that year.
While Brown’s family did not get to see Wilson go to jail, they were able to find some justice through the civil system. Nine months after Brown’s death, they filed a civil lawsuit against Ferguson, former police chief Thomas Jackson, and Wilson; and this week, it was announced that the parties had settled in secret.
U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber sealed the case that ruled in favor of Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden; and a source toldÂ NPRÂ that the agreement is most likely less than $3 million, which is the maximum the city can pay with its insurance policy.
Webber toldÂ St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the terms of the settlement must remain confidential becauseÂ “disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators. The public policy to consider records open is outweighed by the adverse impact to Plaintiffs.”
The killing of Michael Brown caused the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the St. Louis suburb, and they found that the local police station overwhelmingly targeted African-Americans for crimes. The DOJ results forced the town to revamp its policies and procedures, which included better training its police officers.
Brown’s parents’ lawsuit said that Ferguson PDÂ “had a custom or policy of negligently hiring and retaining officers, failing to properly train and/or supervise officers in the use of deadly force.” Their lawsuit also said that Brown had been unlawfully detained and that Wilson had used “excessive force.”
The settlement fee was described by Webber as “fair” and it includes the cost of Brown’s family’s legal fees.
Born in 1996, Michael Brown Jr. graduated from Normandy High School eight days before he was murdered. He was a big guy, weighing almost 300 pounds and standing at a height of 6 ft 4 in. He was expected to attend a vocational school to study heating and air conditioning repair.
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