Freddie Gray’s family has reached a tentative agreement for a $6.4 million settlement with the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Gray died in April, 12 days after his arrest by police of an injury sustained while in a police van, unbelted and handcuffed.
Gray has become a prominent face for the country’s recent debates about the rates of black men and women killed by police or while in police custody. His death incited massive and instrumental riots in the city of Baltimore, resulting in increased police activity and a citywide curfew, implemented by city mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The deal must still be approved by the city’s Board of Estimates, which is expected to meet 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. “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.”
Gray’s case certainly isn’t the first of its kind and, unfortunately, unlikely to be the last. New York City settled with the family of Eric Garner in July, after Garner, also an unarmed black man, died after being in a white police officer’s chokehold. According to The Washington Post, at least 24 unarmed black men have been killed by police this year, as of August 8th—one every nine days. The article suggests that the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri highlighted the disturbing trend and has changed policing as a result.
The deal between Baltimore and Freddie Gray’s family is one of the largest in unlawful death cases caused by police; it also comes only a few days before a judge decides whether to move a trial against the officers in the case.