Mischievous motive behind Baltimore settlement with Freddie Gray family?
$6.4 million payoff taints jury pool and sends signal of misconduct.
The evidence that police committed a crime in the handling of Freddie Gray is far from beyond a resonable doubt.
In fact, as Andrew Branca has analyzed here many times, based on publicly available information there seems to be serious doubt that police did anything wrong, much less anything criminal.
So what explains the Baltimore Mayor’s decision to pay $6.4 million to Freddie Gray’s family?
The Baltimore Sun reports:
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decision to pay Freddie Gray’s family a $6.4 million civil settlement drew praise and criticism Tuesday, with some Baltimore leaders saying the move will help heal the city and others calling it premature.
Former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said the settlement — expected to be approved Wednesday by the city’s spending panel — was a “very positive development for the city.”
“The mayor and her staff are trying to do all they can to heal the wounds in the community, and this is a step in the right direction,” said Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore. “This settlement will give some people in the community at least some sense of justice.”
Superficially, peace through money seems to be the goal, because the dollar amount is hard to explain relative to other settlements, as the Baltimore Sun further explains:
The Gray settlement exceeds the combined total of more than 120 other lawsuits brought against Baltimore police for alleged brutality and misconduct since 2011. State law generally caps such payments, but local officials can authorize larger awards.
The mayor’s office declined to answer questions about the settlement, including why it was brought to the spending panel before any civil lawsuit was filed and how the payment amount was reached.
I don’t see it that way. I think there’s a much more mischievous motivation.
My theory: Money to Freddie’s family may not buy peace on the streets, but convictions will.
This settlement, while technically not an admission of guilt and one that will not be allowed to be presented in court, nonetheless will taint the jury pool. Everyone in Baltimore will know that there was a big payout, and big payout means something wrong was done.
So I don’t see this as a peace deal in itself, but a strategy to make convictions more likely. Peace through convictions.
And since the City will have settled up already, there’s no extra cost to the City for guilty verdicts.
Update 9-9-2015 – AP has an article along similar lines today, Experts say settlement in Gray case could affect hearing:
… experts say the city’s willingness to pre-empt a lawsuit could have an effect on the officers’ ability to receive a fair trial in Baltimore — an issue Williams will likely decide Thursday.
“Damages would have been paid if the city went to trial and they’re willing to settle it. But they tell us it’s by no way an admission of fault by the police officers,” said David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “There’s no doubt that this will figure in to the hearing for change of venue. If I was an attorney for a defendant I’d be revising my motion right now to say the settlement was made to persuade the jury pool that the officers did something wrong.”
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Could it be used to build a case of official misconduct against the authorizing officials, however?
How would it impact the case if it was found that the city government was attempting to taint the jury pool?
Could the message to voters be that they might win the ghetto lottery?
As I noted earlier today…
“Too bad. I would have LOVED seeing an expert on Freddy’s future worth and the value of his familial association demolished in a trial.”
Dead Fred would, if past is prologue, spent most of his shortened life in a prison, with essentially NO future income.
I doubt very much he would have been much quality company to anyone in his family.
A jury would have seen that. Half-a-million would have been crazy high for this puke.
I see such an exorbitant settlement as constituting a kind of “reparations” to the Baltimore black community. Although paid to just one family, it’s a way of telling the black community that they “won.”
It also has the consequence of teaching people that if they riot long and hard enough someone will get a big payday at the end.
It also raises expectations for all future police-related settlements. What happens the next time someone dies while in police custody? Well, the price for that has already been set at $6.4 million. The grieving family will expect no less. Since Freddie Gray’s family won the lottery, why shouldn’t they?
“It also raises expectations for all future police-related settlements.”
I honestly had not considered this, but that is an excellent point.
Good post….Lets take it one step further…..
Well-connected tort attorney max may be 40% of that $400,000 max judgement….or $160,000……
Instead, the atty gets a windfall, maybe 30% of $8.4 million….thats $2.52 million……Abd no trial to work….That leaves a slush fund of $2.3+ million…..How many Mayors and Prosecutors can be bought with a piece of that?
That extra money is being spread around. Baltimore is totally corrupt. I believe the city negotiators made a deal and are enriching themselves as they skew the jury pool.
Can’t prove it, but I’d be watching the bank accounts of all the local officials involved for a very long time. And checking their driveways, too.
Ah, Freddie’s dead; you heard what I said. Freddie’s dead and his family’s ship has come in. Nothing so became Freddie’s life as the benefit the leaving of it brought to his family.
The mayor? A redistributionist punkette trying to CHA with taxpayer’s money.
On another note, I found an ad blocker for my iPad and browsing LI is pleasurable again.
There playing dying for dollars.
Damages 1 dollar Freddy’s future worth 6,399,999 punitive damages divided by 4 Mosby, Billy Murphy , Rawlings Blake and family . This my friends was the entire end game of this charade ,the rest is window dressing.
Seems #BlackLiesmatter has 6.4 million likes.
How was his spine broken?
People arrest guys like Freddie every single day. Spines don’t break. Heads don’t get twisted off. And, giving millions of dollars to Freddie’s family just means money getting flushed down the toilet. After the lawyers take their cut, how long before the family is back to square one?
As to what the cops know, it stays shut in tight behind the blue line.
Did you see the autopsy report? It stated that Gray suffered the same injury that a person would get from diving into a too shallow swimming pool and hitting their head on the cement bottom. This supports the conclusion that Gray who was placed on the floor of the paddy wagon in restraints chose to stand up and this caused him to fall and hit is head.
“After the lawyers take their cut, how long before the family is back to square one?”
And with that is left: after the new cars, cruises, “clubbin'”, $800 mobile toys, and other such things, how long until they are back to square one?
Carol look up Jefferson fracture . This is what most medical posters, have defined it as , can be done sometimes quite easily , kind of like a fluke . Medical examiner said he stood up and fell. No one has accused the Officers as to intentionally injuring him. just that they did
not do enough to keep him from getting injured. The medical examiners report will probably be very much a part of the defense and I expect many experts to try to rip that document up
Those cops better pray these trials aren’t in Baltimore…ever see the Wicker Man or read the lottery?
And Carrol, yes you can suffer a fatal neck injury falling in the back of a van.
…especially when your hands aren’t free to reach out and slow your contact with the wall/floor/bench/whatever when you fall. If Gray stood up in a vehicle while in restraints (and leg restraints make it doubly hard to stay safely standing), it was a very unwise thing to do.
Baltimore gives, the lawyers will take at least 30%, then bill the family for anything they can think of, the Maryland Department of Revenue will tax at a yearly income of $6.4 Million, so will the IRS. They MIGHT get 2 mill.
No taxes as this is a payment to compensate the family for damage that Baltimore did to them in causing Freddie’s death.
Sigh. One of the nastier aspects of this trial is that it is hard to get at actual filings. So take thisd for what it is is worth.
The Baltimore Sun reports that in a defense filing, the defense claims prosecutorial, misconduct for not revealing instances their investigation turned up of Freddie trying to injure himself in police custody. Presumably to sue.
Given that how can they setlle for anything.
I thought the justice system provided justice. You know, judges, juries, lawyers, and that complicated stuff I’ll just call it the law. Silly me. This seems all about the $$$$ and what Mayor Rawlings-Blake has done is beyond mischievous. Children are mischievous, this is something far worse. Nefarious comes to mind. Why didn’t she just make it 10 million, or 20? Then again, how much would it cost to put the fires out one more time?
In related news: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-slager-attorneys-offer-new-evidence-walter-scott-shooting/
I dispute the statement that this is “new evidence”. It is evidence that has been swept out of the rug and ignored.
Most telling line is: Slager’s defense team believes his Taser was fired six times and that both the officer and Scott were each hit twice.
If Slager was hit with the Taser twice that would change the whole thing. ( I thought the thing only had two shots in it though. )
That’s pretty darned good, considering most tasers can only be *shot* once per cartridge without being reloaded.
(Although once somebody is shot, they can be zapped multiple times as long as the wires are still attached)
I don’t think I’m going to give this CBS story much credibility if that’s the extent of their fact checking.
Most standard tasers that police carry have 2 sets of projectiles, once those are fired you have to replace the projectile cartridge on the front. If you take the projectile cartridge off you can still use the taser as a typical contact stun gun.
I really question how they can tell how many times someone used the stun gun. How much juice was used isn’t gonna tell you that because it would depend on how long someone held down the trigger.
I really don’t think it is going to matter, regardless the guy was running away and not armed at the time the cop shot. I still just can’t see how they can get around that.
Reading around, it may be that there is some kind of recording device on a police Tazer that records such things. It would make sense if it did, and would not be hard or expensive for Tazers made in the last ten years.
As for the Scott running away, it may not have any effect on the trial, but it does seem to move the goalposts a lot on Garner. Would a reasonable person acting as a police officer be involved in a fight with a suspect; got tased twice; think the person was a danger to others?
Would he be thinkinking completely clearly? Would his reactions be affected? Would he be slow to realize the person was running away?
I’v e been in fights when I got punched in the nose, I know how disorienting it can be. I suspect geting tased is much worse.
You could be right as far as taser tech is concerned, it may be as simple as a click counter on the trigger of the device. Its been years since I messed with any of that stuff.
As far as mental impairment, I have been tazed before for training purposes, while the physical effects are dramatic from what I remember the negative mental effects were pretty minor. Most folks I have seen that have been tazed got their mental faculties back almost immediately.
Now if you compound that shock with physical blows to the head or even just physical damage, I wouldn’t even begin to speculate on that.
It’s amazing, I’ve seen the dash cam video many times before, but I never noticed that Scott had a gun in his hand pointed at Officer Slager! Apparently, Slager didn’t see it either.
What ever happened to waiting until the criminal trial is over? Isn’t that the usual process to see if there is a criminal verdict and then go for the big bucks? Then id there is no conviction sue the city and the cops in civil court like Goldberg did to OJ. This is almost an admission of guilt by the city. Don’t they have any white lawyers on their staff who could advise them?
Of course it’s an admission of guilt. They mayor is trying to taint the jury pool so that they convict the cops. She must really have a nothing case.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – wait for the prosecution to rest and then move for a directed verdict of “not guilty.” If it’s denied, the defense establishes error that can be raised on appeal (someone please correct me if I’m wrong on that point) and you still have a whack at the jury.
“What ever happened to waiting until the criminal trial is over?”
That was one thing that struck me as weird with the Zimmerman case too. The HOA of the gated community where the shooting occurred made a >$1 million payout to the Martin family before the trial even began. They (or their insurer) obviously just wanted to make the whole thing go away, and it was apparently worth over a million dollars to them to do so, but a lot of people took it as “proof” that Zimmerman was guilty of murder. I’m just glad the jury was smarter than that.
The Zimmerman case was different. That was the HOA and the insurance company in damage-control mode. Can you imagine the stink if an insurance company had been known to fight AGAINST poor little No_Limit_Toddla and his bereaved family? That wouldn’t be like a good neighbor (BTW,I have no idea which company it was). This is one has the imprimatur of the Mayor Herself, and she’s using taxpayer money to buy convictions.
I agree – the Baltimore City payout is definitely more egregious. I was mainly commenting on the phenomenon of dollar-justice being “served” before a case even gets to trial.
The other thing I remember about the HOA settlement was that the night after the Martins’ big payout was announced, a 15-year-old black teen up my way was shot and killed while riding his bike, with the killer being described as a tall black youth in a hoodie. That 15-year-old was some mother’s child, too, but she got no phone call from Obama; her son wasn’t lionized all over the mainstream media; and she sure didn’t collect over a million dollars for her loss. There was a sad little candlelight vigil on the corner near where it happened, a couple of dozen friends and family and their local minister, and I never heard anything else about it. I don’t even remember his name – there have been so many similar cases since then, just in and around Jacksonville.
Dead is dead in any case, but I couldn’t help but cynically wonder if she didn’t wish that her son’s killer had been a “white hispanic”.
In other words, I agree with you.
“What ever happened to waiting until the criminal trial is over?”
Actually, depending upon the circumstances, an early settlement can be in the city/counties best interest. In those cases, however, liability is not so muddy, and the goal of early settlement is to settle early for CHEAP.
I have no clue what’s going on in Baltimore. Nothing good, I suspect; the professor is likely spot on.
It is true that settling early can be much cheaper, especially if you count in the court cost and attorney fees that would most likely have to be paid separate from the settlement. But this “settlement” is beyond outrageous. If the citizens of Baltimore really wanted something to riot about then this would be it.
Rawling’s-Blake freely admits her police officers murdered Freddie. That’s as close to a confession as we’ll get in this case. She also takes full responsibility for their actions, and will see to it that the taxpayers cough it up, if Baltimore has any taxpayers left.
I don’t recall the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Joseph Harvey’s family being questioned. As if his disgusting family are entitled to compensation.
I think I just heard the dryer go off, you should check that before Mom gets annoyed.
Which disgusting family?
Also which wrongful death lawsuit, since I can find no evidence that Harvey’s “family” ever filed any such suit. But then again M1 has never been real concerned about things like facts, logic, or justice.
“This settlement will give some people in the community at least some sense of justice.”
How will it do that when it has yet to be determined that Gray’s death was anyone’s fault but his own. The community only needs a sense of justice if justice is actually warranted.
Ah, you’ve just stated a very real problem!
BOTH “a sense” and “justice” are, as you’ve used them to correctly define the FEELINGS of largely unthinking people have no objective meanings.
Both those terms are nebulous and highly subjective as used here. A LOT of people who have NO business feeling like victims have “the sense” they are. “Justice” can be exactly the opposite of what objective justice would be.
Here we are at post-modern America.
Especially in the liberal loony land area’s.
“This settlement will give some people in the community at least some sense of justice.”
I hope it’s worth it to them. After all, aren’t they the ones who are going to get stuck picking up the tab for the city’s generosity? I’m pretty sure that even though Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake “made the decision to pay Freddie Gray’s family a $6.4 million civil settlement,” she’s not exactly going to be reaching into her own pocket to pay it.
I could almost feel sorry for the taxpayers of Baltimore, but then I remember that they’re the ones who elected these awful people in the first place. Good riddance to the lot of them.
I suspect that the individuals rejoicing aren’t the ones paying the taxes.
Is there a way to track these taxpayer funds back to certain democrats as laundered taxpayer contributions? Criminal enterprises do not do something like this without a quid pro quo.
You do know the connection between Freddie Gray’s family attorney and Marilyn Moseby, don’t you?
Much of the six mil will be returned to Democrat Baltimore politicians as campaign contributions.
“This settlement will give some people in the community at least some sense of justice.” This BS from the president of the University of Baltimore! More incredible prejudiced propaganda from the ‘intelligentsia”!
This payoff is Not justice in any sense for the LEOs or for the taxpayer or for JUSTICE itself.
This IS redistribution of wealth a la #BlacksLivesLive ForLotteryWins and NOT blind justice.
I wonder if NAN will recieve a nice donation this year. Follow the money.
“receive” (”i” before “e” except after “c”)
Mayor SR-B had to hurry and get this cash payment done before the criminal trial. An acquittal would negate the family’s claims of police mis-conduct.
Therefore if there is an acquittal now how will Mayor SR-B explain why the family was paid?
The lawyers will get 60% of the settlement. What is the connection between them and Mayor SR-B? Will they contribute to her re-election campaign? Is this just a way to use public money to fund her re-election?
It’s often the case that a city or other jurisdiction is found to have civil liability for a wrongful death where there is no criminality whatsoever, and none is ever claimed.
For instance, a pedestrian is struck and killed in a police chase.
All of these officers could easily be acquitted, and the city might still be found civilly liable.
As to the lawyer’s share, anything over 40% would put the lawyers under a microscope, at least. In some jurisdictions, it would be facially unethical. It would be VERY hard to enforce.
I look at this as Baltimore’s stimulus program for a part of the black community. After all, Freddy was “shovel ready”.
I wanna like this one thousand times!
Thanks a LOT, faboutlaws. I just spat on my keyboard.
There’s been a cost-of-dying increase in the wages of sin.
Premature death, settlement, payment.
Aren’t there some sort of fiduciary responsibilities checks?
Don’t they have to get the city council to sign off. Can the AG or a citizen’s watch committee file suit?
Yea, sure the “Spending committee” has to approve the payment. But seriously do you think that this mayor would offer that much of a settlement without being sure the road was paved to run it through?
Trivia question: Has the “spending committe” ever disproved a request?
I suspect the answer is “Of course not.”
As if the US AG would even contemplate bringing charges of any kind against the Baltimore city officials.
I don’t claim this as original ,but I do find it funny , it was posted in another blog ” When you elect clowns , you’re bound to get a circus”
It must get boring sometimes to so regularly beat the so-called “Real Media” to the punch 😎
*Baltimore Announces $6.4 Million Settlement in the Death of Freddie Gray*
Sadly, Freddie Gray was born and raised in a anti-social Baltimore Street Culture that deprived him of experiencing and enjoying a safe, fairly happy American kid childhood.
Like many childhood victims of our expanding *National Epidemic of Child Abuse & Neglect*, I have no doubt that Mr. Gray suffered from depression caused by a immature caregiver who failed to properly raise and nurture a young developing Mr. Gray.
Mr. Gray’s mom introduced him to a life of hardship and struggle, and now she is cashing in on her inability to protect her child from growing up depressed and filled with hopelessness.
I’d like to see the good people of Baltimore compensated for all the money they spent prosecuting and housing a depressed, criminally-minded Freddie Gray.
If his mom, Gloria Darden, required social services to raise and nurture her developing son I’d like to see that money returned to the People of Baltimore because it is evident Freddie’s mom did a monumentally poor job of raising and nurturing her depressed, angry, frustrated son.
We need to re-examine our child welfare and protections laws, protecting young developing citizens like Freddie Gray from being emotionally scarred for life by immature teen girls and women who irresponsibly begin building families before acquiring practical skills, PATIENCE and the means to raise and nurture fairly happy American kids who enjoy SAFE STREETS to play in.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Freddie Gray, one of countless victims of early childhood abuse and neglect.
Mosby’s personal attorney is Gray family attorney: I smell a deal in anticipation of case against the police going south.