The city of Baltimore will pay Freddie Gray’s family a $6.4 million settlement for his April arrest and death. If approved, the payout will be larger than all combined police misconduct settlements by the Maryland jurisdiction over the past several years.
The settlement, announced by black Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Tuesday, does not admit any wrongdoing by the six Baltimore Police Department officers who are charged in Gray’s death.
Gray, a 25-year-old African-American, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and later died.
“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,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
“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.”
The proposal calls for Baltimore to pay $2.8 million during the current fiscal year and $3.6 million in next year, the city said. It will have to be approved by the Board of Estimates, the governing body that oversees the city’s spending. The five members, including Rawlings-Blake, are expected to meet Wednesday.
City Council President Bernard C. ‘Jack’ Young, also a member of the Board of Estimates, will support the proposal, spokesman Lester Davis told the Baltimore Sun.
If approved, the settlement would be more than the combined payouts of over 120 lawsuits brought against the Baltimore PD claiming police brutality and misconduct since 2011, according to a 2014 Baltimore Sun investigation.
The city paid some $5.7 million in those cases, with payouts capped at $500,000 per case, unless there were extenuating circumstances like multiple victims or actual malice. Baltimore paid an additional $5.8 million in legal fees in defending the police in those cases.
In the 30 days following the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Sun reports that there have been 34 murders and more than 160 non-fatal shootings in West Baltimore.
Black protests started after the funeral and soon turned to violence. Civil unrest and hooliganism continued with at least twenty police officers injured, at least 250 people arrested, 285 to 350 business damaged, 150 vehicle fires, 60 structure fires, 27 drugstores looted, thousands of police and Maryland Army National Guard troops were deployed, and a state of emergency was declared in the city limits of Baltimore.