US family of black motorist killed in Minnesota reaches multi-million settlement | News | DW | 26.06.2017
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US family of black motorist killed in Minnesota reaches multi-million settlement

The settlement means the family of Philando Castile are spared the pursuit of a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court. The victim's girlfriend live-streamed the incident after he was shot.

Black motorist Philando Castile was killed by a Minnesota policeman during a routine traffic stop last July. The incident was livestreamed on Facebook by Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car with her then 4-year-old daughter. 

The $3 million (2.6 million-euro) settlement is to be paid to Valerie Castile, the victim's mother and the family's trustee by the city that employed the police officer. The announcement came on Monday, within two weeks of the acquittal of officer Jeronimo Yanez on manslaughter and other charges connected to Castile's death.

Valerie Castile agreed to forego a federal wrongful death lawsuit that would likely have dragged out for years. 

"No amount of money could ever replace Philando," a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. "With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation." The foundation provides financial
support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence.

USA Minnesota Trauernde nach tödlicher Schießerei bei Straßenkontrolle (picture-alliance/AP/I. Hale)

The memorial on the roadside near where Philando Castile was killed

Officer acquitted

Castile was a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, He was shot five times by Latino police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile informed the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun. The shooting sparked outrage.

Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter charges in mid-June but was immediately fired by the city of St. Anthony, the Minneapolis suburb where he was employed. The acquittal of Yanez sparked days of protests, including one in nearby St Paul that shut down a major highway for hours and led to 18 arrests.

USA Protest gegen Polizeigewalt in St. Paul, Minnesota (Reuters/A. Bettcher)

Last year people gathered on Interstate 94 to protest the killing of Castile

Single settlement

Diamond Reynolds was not a party to Monday's settlement. Castile's girlfriend has retained a lawyer but it is unclear what kind of compensation she may seek.

Darin Richardson, claims manager with the League of Minnesota Cities, said St Anthony's insurance coverage is $3 million per occurrence. If Reynolds were to file and win a claim, the city's remaining $5,000 in coverage would be paid to her and St Anthony would have to cover any additional money awarded.

The distribution of the settlement funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks.

bik/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)

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