Officials with the City of Baltimore say that they have negotiated a wrongful death settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man whose death last April in police custody set off riots across the city.
According to CBS DC, under the agreement, Baltimore taxpayers would pay $6.4 million to Gray’s family. However, the proposed settlement must still seek the approval of the city’s Board of Estimates, which is set to consider the arrangement on Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Six Baltimore police officers are currently facing criminal charges related to Gray’s death, which has been ruled a homicide caused by a high energy neck and spine injury resulting from officers’ failure to follow safety procedures during a rough van ride in which Gray’s hands and feet were bound and in which he was not wearing a safety belt. Truth in Media’s Rachel Blevins noted that “the medical examiner compared Gray’s injury to a person diving headfirst into shallow water.”
All six officers have pleaded not guilty to the charges and face a hearing on Thursday at which a judge will choose a venue for the criminal proceedings.
“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,” read a statement by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “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 Wall Street Journal is reporting that the agreement calls for the $6.4 million settlement to be paid over two years, with $2.8 million set to be issued to Gray’s family in the first year and $3.6 million in the following year.