How does Castile Settlement Compare to Other Cases?

The city of St. Anthony settled outside of court with the Castile family.

Image Credit: Screengrab/CNN

ST. ANTHONY, Minn. — The city of St. Anthony Minnesota has settled with Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile.

As reported by Alpha News, former Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges relating to the death of Philando Castile in 2016. Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in St. Anthony, Minnesota. Yanez testified that he feared for his life and believed Castile was reaching for his gun. Castile did have a conceal and carry license.

The city of St. Anthony announced Monday that they would award Valerie Castile, as a trustee of her son’s next-of-kin, $2.995 million dollars.

“No amount of money could ever replace Philando. With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, the city of St. Anthony wrote in a statement.

“The important work of healing our community continues. The City of St. Anthony Village reaffirms its commitment to transforming its police department in partnership with the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Through the Collaborative Reform Initiative, the City and residents are working to improve trust between the police department and the communities it serves.”

An analysis of black men and women who have died at the hands of police officers varies in the amount of settlements given to their families. Cities have handed out settlements as low as $850,000 to as high as $6.5 million.

Settlement amounts appear to not vary by media exposure. Cases like Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, which received weeks of on the ground national coverage and follow-up coverage only amounted to a $1.5 million settlement to the family. Meanwhile, the family of Danroy Henry, Jr., which did not receive as much national attention, received $6 million from the New York City

Settlements also appear to not vary by city size. Arlington, Texas paid the family of Christian Taylor $850,000. The city of Los Angeles, in two separate cases, paid Ezell Ford’s family $1.5 million, while paying the family of Brendon Glenn $4 million.

Settlements seem to vary based on the amount of evidence showing the level of wrongdoing committed by a police officer.

In the cases of Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, and Eric Garner, whose families each received approximately $6 million from Baltimore, North Charleston, and New York City respectively, evidence shows police brutality and unnecessary force which led to unnecessary death.

However, in controversial cases like Michael Brown Jr., where there is a question of whether he stole from a convenience store prior to being shot, or Philando Castile, where there is a question to whether or not he was pulling for his gun, they received smaller settlements.

Professor David Schultz, a Political Science at Hamline University agrees.

“While media coverage may be a factor, the bigger issue is all about uncertainty. By that, cities and parties are more likely to settle when they are uncertain as to the final result and they are unwilling to take a chance in court,” Schultz told Alpha News. “Larger settlements also reflect concession on the part of a city that they may be more likely than not to be held culpable given the evidence in a case that depicts that actions of an officer as reprehensible or bad. Overall, cities more likely to settle when they perceive they are liable for a large judgment before a jury and they are unwilling to take a chance and go to court.”

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Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.