When the settlement was approved Wednesday morning, Ryan told a local radio show host that “Baltimore taxpayers should blow up the Mayor’s phone expressing their dissatisfaction”.
Gray’s family is to receive $2.8 million this fiscal year while $3.6 million will be paid to them next fiscal year starting next July.
It will settle any civil claims surround the death of the 25-year-old who suffered severe spine and neck injuries during his April arrest.
Rawlings-Blake rejected criticism of the deal from the Fraternal Order of Police, saying the settlement meant the charged officers would be protected from any civil suit.
The settlement comes as judicial hearings are just beginning in the cases of six officers facing criminal charges in Gray’s death. On Thursday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams is set to decide whether or not to move the trials outside of the city.
Ms. Rawlings-Blake said the agreement shouldn’t be interpreted as a judgment on the officers’ guilt or innocence.
The objective of the civil settlement is to bring an important measure of closure to the family, the community, and the City, and to avoid years and years of protracted civil litigation and the potential harm to the community and divisiveness which may likely result. Richard Shipley, Gray’s stepfather, said the family would not comment on the settlement. It was reached before Gray’s parents and his estate filed a lawsuit, although they had filed claims with the city and its police department.
Mr. Gray was arrested on April 12 in West Baltimore after authorities said he made eye contact with a police sergeant and ran. “It ensures that the end of the criminal trial is the end (of litigation) for those officers….”
“The fact that the civil matter seems to be resolved hopefully will reduce some of the tension among people who might have demonstrated at each of those six trials”, said Kurt L. Schmoke, a former Baltimore mayor and state’s attorney who is now president of the University of Baltimore. The tragedy was one in a series of cases nationwide involving the death of black men at the hands of police.
Echoing Rawlings-Blake, the city of Baltimore said in a statement that the settlement isn’t an admission of liability on the part of the officers or its city.
He said Gray’s family members “are not advocates for a particular position” in the criminal trials, and only want to see justice served. Six officers will stand trial on charges ranging from assault to murder.
“We would see the uprising again if this case is moved out of the city of Baltimore”, said Rev. Westley West, Faith Empowered Ministries.
City Solicitor George Nilson said after the vote that Baltimore is a plaintiff in three cases in which it expects to win settlements that will more than pay for the settlement to Gray.