D.C. Suburb Pays $20 Million for Police Fatal Shooting

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Prince George’s County, Md., bordering Washington, D.C., has agreed to pay the family of a man fatally shot by a police officer $20 million in what is believed to be among the nation’s largest settlements involving someone killed by law enforcement, reports the Washington Post. The county settled with the family of 43-year-old William Green, who was shot six times with his hands cuffed behind his back in the front seat of a police cruiser by Cpl. Michael Owen. Owen was arrested the day after the Jan. 27 shooting and has been suspended without pay. He is charged with second-degree murder. “I agree with County Executive (Angela) Alsobrooks that this historic settlement shows that the Black life of William Green and the Black lives of his grieving mother, son and daughter truly matter,” said Baltimore attorney William Murphy. “Black lives matter.”

Alsobrooks said the settlement represented the county “accepting responsibility” for mistakes made in Green’s death. This month, Louisville agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor after she was fatally shot by police who raided the 26-year-old woman’s home. The death was one of several police killings of Black people that have fueled protests nationwide. In 2015, Murphy obtained a $6.4 million settlement with the city of Baltimore after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody. The large Prince George’s County settlement was driven largely by the unprecedented details of the shooting, including red flags the department missed related to Owen’s history of using force and claims seeking workers’ compensation for psychological difficulties. Alsobrooks said, “This is not the way we want to spend tax dollars, which is why we are doing everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”

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