$2.6M Payment, Police Changes In Aurora, Co., Officer Shooting

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Aurora, Co., will pay the largest settlement in the city’s history for last year’s shooting death of an unarmed black man by a city police officer, and its police department has made a series of changes to improve oversight of officer conduct in the wake of the case, reports the Denver Post. The family of Naeschylus Carter-Vinzant will receive $2.6 million for his death in an officer-involved shooting where no criminal charges were filed. The settlement includes massive changes for the Aurora Police Department in an effort to improve community relations and better monitor police actions.

Levester Lyons, president of the NAACP’s Aurora chapter, said, “I’m somewhat in shock. I think it’s a good step.”While the two sides were tight-lipped, some outside the negotiations see the agreement as a positive, although costly, one for the city because it involves changes at the police department and a peaceful resolution. Carter-Vinzant, 37, was killed March 6, 2015, by officer Paul Jerothe, who is white. Jerothe fired one shot as SWAT officers were trying to serve an arrest warrant after Carter-Vinzant had removed an ankle bracelet required as part of his parole conditions. Carter-Vinzant ran when officers closed in and he had his right hand in his right pocket as if he might be hiding something, a grand jury report said. The police department has reorganized its internal affairs bureau, rewritten its use-of-force policy, created a compliance and professional standards division, and created an independent review board, which consists of citizens appointed by city council to look into police misconduct and recommend discipline.


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