[JURIST] The city of Baltimore on Tuesday reached a tentative agreement with the family of Freddie Gray worth $6.4 million. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake [official website] said the settlement [Reuters report] will now be sent to the Baltimore Board of Estimates [official website] for a vote but also noted that the settlement offer is not an admission of guilt. The mayor said that this settlement will help resolve any possible civil claims against the city and hopefully avoid needless and lengthy litigation. The Fraternal Order of Police criticized the settlement due to the fact that it was preemptive of any civil suits that may be brought but have not yet been filed. They said this may create tension between City Hall and police officers.
Gray’s arrest and death led to widespread protests and civil disorder in the city of Baltimore. Last week Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams rejected [JURIST report] motions to drop charges against the six police officers implicated in the Gray case. Gray was a black man who was injured in police custody and later died in April. In May the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City announced [JURIST report] the indictment of the police officers on charges including murder and manslaughter over the death Gray. In April Amnesty International urged Baltimore police to exercise restraint [JURIST report] during protests, prioritize non-violent means and limit the use of force. Also in April, amidst national concern about police behavior, the US Department of Justice announced a $20 million body camera grant [press release] program that includes training, technical assistance and evaluation to accompany $17 million for local law enforcement agencies to purchase body-worn cameras.