Baltimore to pay millions to family of Freddie Gray

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Baltimore will pay 6.4 million dollars in a settlement to the family of Freddie Gray, a black man who was injured in police custody and later died, prompting violent protests against police brutality in the US city.

Gray’s death in April after suffering a fatal injury while in a police wagon was one of the most prominent cases in a string of deaths of young black men involving police that have exposed racial tensions and poor relations between police and the African American community.

The case drew attention to the practice by Baltimore police of so-called “rough rides” in which police allegedly purposefully drove recklessly to punish the suspects being driven in police vans.

The proposed settlement was to be presented at a city meeting Wednesday. The government would pay Gray’s family 2.8 million dollars this year and 3.6 million dollars next year, the city said in a statement.

The settlement does not signal an admission of guilt on behalf of the city and legal proceedings against the officers involved in Gray’s arrest are ongoing, the city said.

“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.

“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.”

Six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest have been charged, and the US Department of Justice is investigating the Baltimore police department for broad civil rights violations.

The payment to Gray’s family is larger than the combined amount handed out in all 120 other police brutality cases brought against the city since 2011, the Baltimore Sun newspaper reported.

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