Denver will pay $1 million to the family of Jessica Hernandez, a 17-year-old girl shot to death by police in an alley in 2015, and will agree to concessions aimed at improving the police department’s relationship with young Latinos and gay youth, the Denver Post reports. The settlement must be approved by the City Council. The Hernandez family, represented by the Rathoud Mohamedbhai law firm, never filed a lawsuit. The city acknowledged in the settlement that Hernandez’s shooting death was “a tragedy for all involved” and that “the parties desire to work together to bring about positive change in the Denver community.”
The shooting death triggered outrage because police killed a teen girl, and it caused the community to question police tactics, forcing the police department to change its policy on shooting into moving cars. The concessions include a new policy that forbids police to proactively release criminal background information on people that its officers shoot. The Denver Police Department still will be covered by the state’s open records law, which requires release of information when asked. In the Hernandez case, officials portrayed Jessica as a troubled teen who drove a stolen car toward officers. The family has said the department unfairly tarnished the image of a girl who was dearly loved by family and friends. The agreement requires Denver police to host a community meeting on justice in the Latino and LGBTQ communities. The Hernandez family will select a representative to serve on a new committee that is helping rewrite the police use-of-force policy.