The family of the Baltimore black man who died in police custody landed an incredibly rare settlement

The family of the Baltimore black man who died in police custody landed an incredibly rare settlement

The family of Freddie Gray, who died after being critically injured while in police custody, reached a $6.4 million wrongful-death settlement with the city of Baltimore.

The agreement resolved civil claims about a week after the first hearing in the criminal case against six police officers, officials said Tuesday.

Despite the settlement, the six Baltimore police officers still face criminal charges stemming from Gray’s death. Gray, who was black, was critically injured April 12 while he was in the back of a van for transporting prisoners after he was arrested. His death sparked protests, rioting, and unrest that shook Baltimore for days.

The proposed payment is larger than that of 120 other lawsuits combined, filed against the police department for alleged brutality and misconduct since 2011, The Baltimore Sun reports. Only six of these exceeded $200,000.

It’s also considerably higher than the cap that Gov. Larry Hogan has set for plaintiffs — $400,000, according to The Sun. Increases, however, can be negotiated.

The settlement still needs the approval of a board that oversees city spending. The board meets Wednesday.

“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,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a news release. “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.”

Initial police reports said Gray was arrested with a knife, though whether Gray was legally carrying that knife is sure to be a centerpiece of the criminal case as it moves to trial. Prosecutors say it’s legal under a city ordinance, while defense attorneys argue that it’s a switchblade, and thus illegal under both city and state law.

All six officers, including Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, are charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White, and Officer William Porter also face a manslaughter charge, while Officer Caesar Goodson faces the most serious charge of all: second-degree “depraved-heart” murder.

Three of the officers are black, and three are white.

Associated Press reporting by Juliet Linderman.

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