Claremont Settles Lawsuit in Fatal Police Shooting
The city of Claremont has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a teenager who was shot and killed four years ago by two police officers.
According to the terms of the settlement, the money will be divided among Irvin Landrum Jr.'s mother and his two children, a 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.
The settlement involved no admission of guilt by the city. It closes the books on a shooting that prompted numerous protests and prayer vigils.
“I think it has been a very painful and long process for everyone,” said Sandra Baldonado, Claremont’s mayor pro tem. “It’s hard to say there is a silver lining in a tragedy like this.”
The settlement comes just one month after City Manager Glenn Southard rescinded awards given to the officers involved. The employee of the year awards had been granted 11 months after the shooting; officials cited officers’ professionalism under pressure.
Some in the community considered the awards insensitive. Southard said he rescinded the awards in the best interests of the city.
An independent investigation of the shooting by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The incident occurred during a traffic stop in which Landrum was pulled over. The officers said they fired out of fear for their lives because Landrum drew a weapon. Family members and friends have long thought that race was a factor. Landrum was an African American. They also alleged that police had planted the gun.
Anthony Willoughby, attorney for Tracy Lee, said the family feels vindicated.
“The family is happy to put this behind them,” he said. “They got paid well, and it precluded them from having to go through a lengthy trial.”
Hal Fairchild, a professor of black studies at Pitzer College who helped organize protests and prayer vigils, said he is disappointed by the settlement. He said a trial would have uncovered the truth. “It’s very disturbing to me,” Fairchild said.