Settlement reached for $3M in lawsuit involving Black man's suicide

On Monday, the North Carolina sheriff's department announced a $3,000,000 settlement in a lawsuit brought by the family of an unarmed Black victim who was killed by sheriff's officers more than a decade ago.

Settlement reached for $3M in lawsuit involving Black man's suicide

On Monday, the North Carolina sheriff's department announced a $3,000,000 settlement in a lawsuit brought by the family of an unarmed Black victim who was killed by sheriff's officers more than a decade ago.

Andrew Brown Jr.'s family filed a $30 Million civil rights lawsuit in 2021. They claimed that the man died from officers' "intentional, reckless disregard for his life."

Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies killed Brown last April 21st while they were serving drug-related warrants in Elizabeth City. Brown was surrounded by several deputies in his BMW, before his car stopped and moved on. They fired several shots at his car. A bullet struck his back and killed him.

Andrew Womble, District Attorney, had stated at a press conference last year that Brown used the car as a "deadly weapons" and deputies believed it was necessary to use deadly force. Lawyers for the Brown family claimed that the shooting was justified because Brown was driving away and not towards the deputies. They also said that he was not a threat. They discovered that Brown was in his car, with his hands on his steering wheel, when the first shot was fired.

The Pasquotank County Board approved the settlement. According to a statement provided by the sheriff's department to The Associated Press, it includes a $1 million appropriation that will go with $2 million from the county’s insurance policy. This amount is the limit of the policy.

According to the news release, the settlement was reached in a case that was overseen by a federal magistrate at U.S. District Court Raleigh. It took place over several weeks.

According to a news release, the county's payment will resolve potential liability against defendants and any officers named in the lawsuit. According to the news release, the family entered into a stipulation that it would dismiss all claims against the defendants Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II, three sheriff's deputys, and any other claims that could arise from Brown's passing.

According to the sheriff's office, Brown's children will receive the settlement proceeds as heirs of his estate.

According to the statement of the five attorneys representing Brown Jr., "Andrew Brown Jr. was an devoted father who wanted his kids to have the things that he didn’t." "While there is no settlement that can fill the void left by his death, this agreement will provide for their futures, their education, and ensure their dreams don't end with him."

The lawsuit brought by the Brown family was one of a number of federal civil rights lawsuits that had been filed in the wake of high-profile police shootings against Black and Brown people. Many of these cases ended in settlements, which often included money, but did not include any admission of guilt. Some lawsuits reach court, where a jury may award large settlements. These settlements are then reduced upon appeal.

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