The criminal trial for the six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray isn’t set to start until October, but this morning, the city of Baltimore agreed to pay his family $6.4 million in restitution. The Baltimore Sun reports that the city’s spending panel, the Board of Estimates, is expected to approve the settlement at a meeting tomorrow. Gray’s family had not yet filed a civil suit against the city.
Gray, 25, died in police custody on April 19, 2015, from spinal injuries inflicted during what Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby deemed an illegal arrest. As part of the settlement, the city accepts full civil liability for Gray’s arrest and death, but does not acknowledge police misconduct.
The payout is larger than the $6.3 million paid to settle the 120+ lawsuits that citizens have brought against Baltimore Police Department in the years since 2011. The first $2.8 million is to be paid out this fiscal year, with the remainder released the following year. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement regarding the settlement:
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.
Offering a settlement now avoids a lengthy trial, could restrict both the city and the family’s ability to discuss the case publicly, and could protect the city from a higher federal court-ordered payout. At press time, Gray’s family had not yet released a statement.