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City of Ferguson will pay Michael Brown's family while cop walks free

by Tess Owen
Jun 21 2017, 9:24am

The parents of Michael Brown — the black teenager slain by a police officer three years ago — have settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the city of Ferguson, Missouri and its former police chief.

Judge E. Richard Webber of the Eastern District of Missouri approved the terms of the settlement Tuesday. Because the settlement is sealed, it is not possible to know the exact dollar amount that Brown’s parents will receive, but according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, it will be under $3 million because that is the maximum the city can pay under its insurance plan.

Brown was 18-years-old, and unarmed, when Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed him in August 2014. The shooting touched off angry protests across the city, and catalyzed growing nationwide outrage over racial injustice and police brutality. Protests returned later that year when a grand jury declined to indict Wilson for Brown’s death.

A Justice Department investigation into Ferguson’s law enforcement system following the shooting exposed police and courts routinely violated black residents’ civil rights, and culminated in a consent decree between the city and the DOJ.

The settlement may mark the final stage in Brown’s parents legal battle for justice, but the questions and issues that his death raised remain open and raw.

Last Friday, a jury acquitted a police officer in the death of Philando Castile, a black cafeteria worker outside of St Paul, Minnesota. On Tuesday, previously unreleased, and shocking, dashcam footage showing the moments leading up to Castile’s death made the officer’s acquittal only more distressing to racial justice advocates.

On Sunday morning, two white officers in Seattle shot and killed a black woman, who was pregnant, in her own home while her three kids were present, because she reportedly had a knife.