Tag Archives: civil suit

Baltimore Officials: Taxpayers to Pay $6.4m Settlement to Family of Freddie Gray

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.

[RELATED: Officer Who Pursued Freddie Gray Has History of Violence, Mental Health Issues]

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.

VIDEO: Cop Brings Gun to a Snowball Fight Could Cost NYC $10 Million

In February of 2010 off duty NYPD officer, Sgt. Adonis Ramirez, 34, after being hit by a snowball in the leg, drew his concealed weapon on a group of young men and ordered them to kneel against a fence. He now stands accused of false arrest and battery.

Inconsistencies in his story have been revealed during his recent testimony in a $10 million dollar civil suit brought against the NYPD.

In his initial report to officers Ramirez claimed that while walking, “he felt himself get struck on the back by multiple snowballs.” While testifying in court last Tuesday he admitted that it was only “one” snowball and that it struck him in the leg.

He then went on to claim that he didn’t recall telling police that the young men had chased him, although he had stated in police reports that he feared for his “immediate safety”. Previously, Ramirez had claimed the group chased him down the street and threatened him while pelting him with multiple snowballs.

Ramirez also changed his statement about how long it took him to draw his weapon after being hit a snowball, from an earlier estimate of over a minute, he revised that to 15 to 30 seconds in court testimony.

It appears that Ramirez was forced to amend his statements after surveillance footage surfaced that contradicted the officer’s version of events about multiple snowballs being thrown and the men chasing him.

Manuel Rondon, 22, Christian Perez, 23, Johnathan Rodriguez, 26, Anthony Aquino, 19, and Ariel Lopez, 21, were all arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, attempted assault, menacing, and harassment and were forced to spend the a day and a half in jail.

The alleged weapon in question… a snowball.

None of the young men had ever been in any trouble before. 18 year old Ariel Lopez said, “We’re innocent, we didn’t do anything wrong and he overreacted.” Manuel Rondon went on to state, “I felt that at that moment one of us was going to get killed or shot.”

The attorney for the five young men claims that Ramirez, “made up facts. He never got hit with a snowball. This guy brings a loaded gun to a snowball fight. It’s an incredible abuse of power by a bully with a badge,” said attorney Neil Wollerstein.

Eventually all charges against the young men were dropped by the Bronx district attorney.

According to Ramirez, while he may not have had all his facts straight, he felt a possible threat existed and that his actions were fully justified, claiming, “I was outnumbered, and I wasn’t taking any chances.”

In the “officer needs assistance” call made to 911 to get assistance from New Yorks finest, to protect this officer from the brutal snowball “assault”, Ramirez can be heard telling the young men, while held at gunpoint, “Do not move, Do not move. You brought this upon yourself. You want to be a d–k?” His words come off as strikingly retaliatory rather than based on a fear for his own personal safety.

The abuse of authority and lack of training exhibited in this case are stunning. Mr. Ramirez must have missed the memo that badges don’t grant extra rights. The militarization of the police across the US has seemingly created a pandemic of officers acting as though they are above the law they are sworn to uphold. Hopefully, Officer Ramirez, the NYPD, and the city of New York get the memo on this one.

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