Just in case you missed it …
The City of Baltimore has negotiated a $6.4 “wrongful death” settlement with Freddie Gray’s family.
You remember Freddie, right?
He was the 25 year old drug dealer with a long rap sheet who died of a broken neck in police custody. He was arrested for fleeing police and died while being transported from his place of business (a drug distribution corner in rough-and-tumble Baltimore City) to the police lock-up.
Six Baltimore cops (black & white, male & female, young & old) are charged in connection with the death but haven’t been tried yet.
According to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:”This settlement is being made solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages.”
This settlement is preposterous on several levels …
First, let me establish that I’m a very pro-life guy (e.g. not a big fan of capital punishment) … so, I think it’s very bad for anybody to die under questionable circumstances. Period.
That said, let’s go through some of the particulars …
The cops haven’t been found guilty of anything yet … and may be innocent of the charges.
Another arrestee even testified that Freddie was high as a kite and was intentionally trying to ram the sides of the van.
I doubt that … but, there’s also no evidence that any cops physically manhandled the Freddie.
The only apparent gimme is that the cops didn’t fasten the guy’s seatbelt in the van.
Not exactly the basis for a 6$5 million settlement.
The dude had a long record as a drug dealer.
How many lives did he destroy peddling his poison?
How much restitution did he ever pay to his “clients” who lives spiraled out-of-control and, maybe, cost people their lives?
I’m betting the answer is a whopping goose egg.
What about the caring family that’s now traumatized by the death of their beloved son?
Give me a break.
It’s not exactly clear who his family is exactly.
I guess that it is good news is that his supportive extended family family is finally coming out of the woodwork to express their grief and and fight for a slice of the pie.
Where were they when the kid was growing up?
Why didn’t they chart a course for the kid different than peddling drugs?
What about the amount of the settlement?
A straight fact:
“The proposed payment in the Gray case is more than the $5.7 million the city of Baltimore paid in total for 102 court judgments and settlements for alleged police misconduct between 2011 and last fall” … according to an investigation by The Baltimore Sun.
Think about the precedent that the settlement sets.
And, “the amount of the settlement exceeds what the family could have won in state court; Maryland has a $400,000 cap on damages for those who win judgments over police misconduct.”
Still another perspective …
This settlement strikes home for me.
My brother was killed in a plane crash when his small plane’s engine exploded.
The “wrongful death” part was fairly cut & dry … the NTSB investigators were able to trace the explosion back to faulty parts installed by the manufacturer.
The damages part was a bit dicier.
There were no damages paid to my brothers immediate family for pain and suffering and anguish.
All that the court cared about were economic damages to the family … how much lifetime income my brother could reasonably be expected to have earned over his lifetime that his family would not be receiving.
At the time of the crash, my brother was the CEO of a recently IPO’ed electronics company that Fortune tagged “one of the fastest growing” in America.
Economists and accountants pounded the numbers to calculate his cold-hearted lost economic value.
Suffice it to say that the settlement was less than $6.4 million.
Even adjusting it for inflation to 2015 dollars, it was way less than $6.4 million.
Imagine if he hadn’t been a start-up CEO busting his hump 80 hours per week.
What if he had been a scum bag peddling dope on an Atlanta street corner?
Maybe then his wife & daughters could have raked in some serious dough.
Not only is life not fair … the world is getting flat-out nutty.