BLACK VOICES
06/20/2017 09:27 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2017

Michael Brown's Family Settles Wrongful-Death Lawsuit For Undisclosed Sum

Brown, 18, was unarmed when a Ferguson police officer fatally shot him in 2014.

The city of Ferguson, Missouri, has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.

Federal district judge Richard Webber approved the civil settlement on Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Webber sealed details of the settlement and did not disclose the settlement amount.

Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden, filed the civil lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, former Police Chief Thomas Jackson and former police officer Darren Wilson in April 2015, nine months after Brown was killed.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III and attorneys for Browns’ parents declined to comment on the settlement, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit alleged that the city of Ferguson fostered a police culture that was hostile to African Americans, which ultimately led to Brown’s death in August 2014. The lawsuit also claims Wilson used excessive and unreasonable force during his confrontation with Brown.

Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police force in November 2014, after a grand jury in St. Louis County announced he would not be indicted. In March 2015, Department of Justice officials announced that Wilson would not face federal civil rights charges in connection with Brown’s death.

The incident sparked months of protests ― which at times turned violent ― in Ferguson and across the U.S. 

Webber wrote in his ruling that the settlement amount in Brown’s civil lawsuit is “fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests of each Plaintiff,” according to the Associated Press.

Webber said the agreement will remain sealed “due to the adverse impact to Plaintiffs should it be disclosed,” according to a copy of the filing.

“Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators,” Webber’s ruling continued. “The public policy to consider records open is outweighed by the adverse impact to Plaintiffs.”

Under state law, the city may be forced to disclose the amount of the settlement despite the order.

The Post-Dispatch reported on Monday that the settlement would be less than $3 million, which is the limit of the city’s insurance, but it was not clear how much less the settlement amount would be. 

City Clerk Octavia Pittman told HuffPost that the city of Ferguson’s insurance company paid $1.5 million on behalf of multiple defendants. 

This story has been updated with information from City Clerk Octavia Pittman.

HuffPost

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