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Baltimore Approves $6.4M Settlement in Freddie Gray Case

  • VOA News

FILE - People paint a portrait of Freddie Gray at a housing complex where he was arrested, May 3, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland.

FILE - People paint a portrait of Freddie Gray at a housing complex where he was arrested, May 3, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Baltimore city officials on Wednesday approved a $6.4 million payment to settle a wrongful-death claim by the family of Freddie Gray, the young African-American man who was fatally injured while in police custody in April.

Outrage over Gray's death resulted in rioting and looting that left hundreds of businesses damaged. Discussing settlement of the lawsuit, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she hopes for "closure" in the case - for the Gray family, the community and the city.

Six police officers face criminal charges arising from Gray's treatment.

Rawlings-Blake said the city decided to settle the civil case brought by Gray's family to offset what could have been a much more costly effort to contest the wrongful-death claim, and "should not be interpreted as passing any judgment on guilt or innocence of the officers."

Gray was seized on a Baltimore street on April 12, under circumstances that are in dispute. Some police officers have said he was carrying a knife, but prosecutors say there was no legal basis for taking him into custody. The 25-year-old man died in a hospital a week later of a spinal-cord injury suffered while he was handcuffed and restrained inside a police vehicle.

Prosecutors say Gray was unlawfully detained and have disputed police accounts about a knife he was carrying.

His death brought to a boil long-simmering tensions between police and poor black neighborhoods in Baltimore. Rioting was brought under control after a citywide curfew was imposed.

The five men and one woman charged in the Gray case - three white and three black officers - have been accused of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and manslaughter. The driver of the police van at the time Gray's spine injuries allegedly occurred faces an additional charge of second-degree murder.

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