Family of Freddie Gray Settles with City of Baltimore for $6.4 Million

Screen grab taken from CNN of Freddie Gray. Headshot.
Screen grab taken from CNN of Freddie Gray. Headshot.

Marquise Brown | Staff Writer

Baltimore, Maryland – The parents of Freddie Gray reached a tentative $6.4 million settlement with the city of Baltimore, nearly five months after their 25 year old son died a week after being critically injured in police custody. Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby has pointed out that Gray’s injury in April stemmed from the police officer’s failure to buckle his seatbelt in the van while he was handcuffed and shackled.

According to mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, “This settlement does not represent any judgment” on the guilt or innocence of the six police officers charged in the case.  Blake also stated, “This settlement represents an opportunity to bring closure to the Gray family, the community, and the city.” City Solicitor George Nilson says the officers charged in Gray’s death are not named in the settlement.

Since Gray’s death, all six officers have since plead guilty. Gray family attorney Billy Murphy said, “If a civil case went to court, it could easily have taken three years to resolve and no grieving family wants to go through that.” However, the head of Baltimore’s police union, which represents the six accused officers, disapprove of the settlement, and refers to it as ‘pre-mature’.

President of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, Gene Ryan, says the settlement disregards any progress made toward possibly restoring the relationship between the Baltimore City Police Department and the Baltimore City government.

Baffled by Ryan’s comments, the Baltimore city mayor highlights that this settlement removes any civil liability against these six officers, and says regardless of the outcome of each officer’s criminal trial, they could not be sued in civil court.

24-year-old Black Male Arrested for Alleged $5 Theft found Dead in jail cell

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Marquise Brown | Staff Writer

Jamychael Mitchell, a young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, VA., has been found dead in jail. Mitchell died after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing five dollars worth of groceries.

Mitchell suffered from mental health problems according to the Guardian, and was discovered by guards lying on the floor of his cell early last Wednesday. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death “was not being treated as suspicious.”

“As of right now it is deemed ‘natural causes’,”Natasha Perry, the master jail officer at the Hampton Roads regional jail in Portsmouth said. Perry said there were no obvious outward signs of injury to the 24-year-old’s body.

 A Portsmouth District Court clerk said Mitchell was accused of stealing a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar and a zebra cake worth a total of $5 from 7- Eleven. According to the Guardian, officials from the court, the police department and the jail could not explain why Mitchell was not given the opportunity to be released on bail.

Mitchell  had previously been in jail twice: once in April 2010 and January 2012 on larceny and trespassing charges.

Prison officials said that Mitchell had also been declining to eat.  While being detained he lost an estimated 65 pounds. “His body failed,” said Roxanne Adams, Mitchell’s aunt. “It is extraordinary.  The person I saw deceased was not even the person I knew”.