Baltimore approves $6.4M settlement in Freddie Gray case

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

A city board Wednesday approved a $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody

The settlement, announced Tuesday, could play a role in whether a judge decides to move the trials for the six officers charged in Gray’s death out of the city.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other members of the Board of Estimates voted unanimously to approve the settlement Wednesday morning, just a day before Judge Barry Williams will hear arguments on whether the trials should be moved to a different jurisdiction.

The settlement appears to be among the largest such payments in police death cases in recent years. It was reached before Gray’s parents and his estate filed a lawsuit, although they had filed claims with the city and its police department.

Although the city said in a statement that the settlement does not resolve any factual disputes, and expressly does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the city, its police department or any of the officers, experts say the city’s willingness to pre-empt a lawsuit could have an effect on the officers’ ability to receive an impartial trial in Baltimore — an issue Williams will likely decide Thursday.

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