The Board of Estimates this week is poised to approve a $375,000 settlement to the family of an unarmed man who was fatally shot by a Baltimore Police officer in 2008.
The settlement was reached in June, between the city and the family of Edward Lamar Hunt, who was shot Jan. 30, 2008 while running from police after being patted down at the Hamilton Park Shopping Center. Hunt was shot twice in the back.
The officer who fired the shots, Tommy Sanders, had been criminally charged with manslaughter but was acquitted by a city jury last June. Hunt's family filed a $10 million lawsuit, and a settlement agreement was reached on the third day of trial.
According to the Daily Record, the family wanted to settle against the wishes of their attorney:
The decision to settle rested with the clients, who were concerned that any compensation awarded by the Baltimore City Circuit Court jury might have been capped at $200,000 under the Maryland Local Tort Claims Act, Pettit said.
Challenging the cap’s legality on appeal would have taken years to complete and with no guarantee of success, he added.
“I wasn’t an advocate of settling,” Pettit said. “That’s the clients’ call, not mine.”
The settlement appears on this week's agenda for the Board of Estimates, which meets Wednesday.
At a City Council hearing in November, officials said the city has paid out $10.4 million over the past three years to defend lawsuits against police - mostly excessive force cases. The largest verdict in recent years was a $44 million award to a man who was left a quadriplegic after an encounter with an officer in a jail cell. Police refused to pay the amount, and negotiated it down to $1 million.
The Hunt settlement is on the higher end, however, of recent settlements, most of which are typically in the range of $50,000 or less.