Settlement Reached in Suit Over Michael Brown’s Death

FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2014, file photo, the parents of Michael Brown, Lezley McSpadden, left, and Michael Brown Sr., sit for an interview with The Associated Press in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

ST. LOUIS (CN) – The parents of Michael Brown have reached a confidential settlement with the City of Ferguson over his 2014 death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber approved of the settlement Tuesday, but ordered the amount sealed to protect the parties.

“Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators,” Webber wrote. “The public policy to consider records open is outweighed by the adverse impact to Plaintiffs.”

Usually settlements involving public entities are open records under Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The amount is believed to be no more than $3 million, because that it the cap on Ferguson’s insurance policy.

Instead Webber wrote that the gross amount is “fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests of each Plaintiff.”

Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot by Wilson, who is white, in August 2014. The shooting sparked months of often violent protests and brought the issue of excessive police force against black men into the national conversation.

The Justice Department launched two investigations into the shooting, one on Ferguson’s police department and court system and the other on Wilson’s actions. While the DOJ found a plethora of issues in Ferguson’s police and court policies, it declined to prosecute Wilson saying that evidence supported Wilson’s claim that Brown attacked him.

A St. Louis County grand jury also refused to indict Wilson in November 2014.

Brown’s parents filed the wrongful death civil lawsuit in 2015 against Ferguson, former Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Wilson. They claimed that Wilson used excessive and unreasonable force in shooting Brown.

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