Baltimore to pay €5.7 million to Freddie Gray’s family

Mayor says wrongful death settlement is not an admission of liability by the city’s police

Gloria Darden, Freddie’s Gray mother. Photograph: Jose Luis Magana/Reuters

Gloria Darden, Freddie’s Gray mother. Photograph: Jose Luis Magana/Reuters

 

The city of Baltimore has proposed paying $6.4 million (€5.7 million) in a wrongful death settlement to the family of Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal injury while in police custody in April.

The 25-year-old black man suffered a severe spinal cord injury while being transported in the back of a police van after being arrested on a Baltimore street.

His death on April 19th - a week after his arrest - led to the worst rioting in the city in decades.

Mr Gray’s name became known nationally as demonstrators took to the streets during two subsequent weeks of peaceful protests aimed at highlighting police brutality against black men.

Police have admitted that Mr Gray was not wearing a seatbelt while being transported and that he was denied medical attention in the van.

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that the settlement, resolving all civil claims, would be put to the city’s board of estimates, which signs off on spending by the city, on Wednesday.

The settlement does not “constitute an admission of liability on the part of the city, the Baltimore police department, individual Baltimore police officers” or any other persons or institutions who might be deemed responsible for the death of Mr Gray, she said.

Large settlement

The Baltimore Sun reported that the settlement is larger than all sums paid out by the city over alleged police misconduct since 2011.

Ms Rawlings-Blake said the settlement was not a judgment on the innocence or guilt of the six officers facing criminal charges, ranging from false imprisonment to involuntary manslaughter, over Mr Gray’s death.

Judge Barry Williams of the Baltimore City Circuit Court ordered the officers to be tried separately in a ruling last week.

Defence lawyers will ask the judge this week to move the trials out of Baltimore.