By Steve Bittebender
LOUISVILLE, Ky., March 11 (Reuters) - Four young black men who spent more than two months in jail on armed robbery charges that were ultimately dropped have reached a $1.5 million wrongful arrest settlement with the city of Louisville, attorneys said on Wednesday.
Lawyers for the four, dubbed the "Misidentified Four," claimed Louisville police officers used racial profiling and flawed methods to identify their clients.
On March 22, 2014, Jerron Bush, Craig Dean, Tyrone Booker, Jr. and Shaquazz Allen, all cousins, were arrested after police received a complaint from a woman who said she was robbed at gunpoint by four black men.
The robbery was one of several incidents that took place in Louisville that night, possibly connected to the fatal stabbing of a teenager on a city bus.
The victim said the robbery was committed by four black men wearing hoodies but only two of the four arrested were wearing hoodies, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Also, police violated policy by allowing the victim and the witness to remain together as they identified the men, the newspaper said.
At the recommendation of the prosecutor, a grand jury did not return indictments.
The lawsuit settlement comes at a time of heightened national scrutiny on relations between African-Americans and law enforcement, including the U.S. Department of Justice's report last week on racial bias in police practices in Ferguson, Missouri.
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell said the officers used an appropriate identification method in the Louisville case but failed to follow proper policy.
"We believe the officers acted with no wrongful intent but proper policy wasn't followed," O'Connell said in a statement. "So, this settlement is fair and just to all parties."
Plaintiffs' attorney Larry Simon said there would be a news conference on Thursday to discuss terms of the settlement and how the city can improve its identification procedures. (Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Bill Trott)
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