Baltimore to compensate Gray’s family for $6.4 million

Washington, Sep 9 (IANS) Baltimore in the US state of Maryland reached a settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, the young black man who died of a fatal spinal injury while in police custody, officials said on Tuesday.

With the settlement, Freddie Gray’s family will be compensated to the tune of $6.4 million dollars, Xinhua reported.

The settlement still needs the approval of the city’s spending oversight board, which will convene Wednesday on the proposed settlement.

“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 in a statement, adding that the settlement had nothing to do with the criminal proceedings.

Gray, 25, suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody on April 12 and died a week later. The death was ruled by medical examiner as a homicide.

Six Baltimore police officers had been indicted for charges ranging from second-degree assault to second-degree depraved-heart murder.

Like in the death of another young African-American man in Ferguson, Missouri last year, protests over Gray’s death in April soon deteriorated into chaos, with hundreds of rioters in northwestern Baltimore looting stores and setting ablaze cars and buildings.

The death of Gray also put police brutality in the local law enforcement in spotlight and triggered a nationwide debate on race tensions.

According to an investigation report done by the local news daily Baltimore Sun one year ago, the city of Baltimore shelled out about 5.7 million dollars since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers “brazenly beat up alleged suspects.”

“Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50- year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson,” the newspaper reported.

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