Nearly three years have passed since 18-year-old Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Missouri when he was shot several times by Officer Darren Wilson. The incident transformed the city into a warzone of sorts with many nights of protests after a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson. Only a few months ago, some newly surfaced CCTV footage shone new light on what happened before the fatal shooting, but the tragic outcome can never be erased. However, the City of Ferguson has agreed to settle with Brown’s family for $1.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden, brought their suit against not only Ferguson but also Officer Wilson and ex-police Chief Tom Jackson on the grounds that the city’s “culture of hostility” against black people led to Brown’s killing. The accusations were bolstered by the Department of Justice’s ordering of several reforms after publishing an 86-page report of findings that painted the bleakest of pictures. As for the new settlement, the full amount will be split between both parents. CBS St. Louis has more on this week’s legal proceedings:
US District Judge Richard Webber wrote the amount the amount is fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim. Attorney Apollo Carey disclosed the amount in an email in response to an open records request. The settlement of the federal lawsuit was announced Tuesday, but financial details were not initially released.
Brown’s death in August 2014 was the one of the first in a wave of high-profile incidents — propelled to greater prominence by social media coverage of the resulting protests — of cops shooting unarmed black men. In recent months, however, legal relief has been denied to the families of most victims, at least from a criminal justice standpoint. A few days ago in Milwaukee, the officer who shot Sylville Smith was found not guilty. Similar results have plagued other 2016 cases, including the cop who killed Philando Castile in Minnesota, the female officer who fatally shot Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, and the officers who shot Alton Sterling at point-blank range in Louisiana.
Per the city’s insurance policy, the highest amount that could have been paid to Brown’s family would have been $3 million.