$4.5M accepted by family of Black man killed by police

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The children of a Black man killed by police in Louisiana’s capital city five years ago have accepted a $4.5 million settlement from the local government, the man's family and the city's mayor said Friday.

Alton Sterling’s 2016 shooting by a Baton Rouge police officer was captured on video and sparked anger and protests in the city’s Black community. 

Sterling’s family issued a statement Friday confirming acceptance of the settlement after news outlets reported that court documents showed they had moved to have the suit dismissed last month. The settlement had been approved earlier in the year by the Metro Council for Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. 

“This settlement, which was reached through hard work and collaboration between attorneys for Mr. Sterling’s family and the Baton Rouge City Council, will allow the city to heal and provide a pathway for Mr. Sterling’s children to be provided for financially,” said the statement issued through the family's attorneys. It also expressed hope that reforms implemented by the department will prevent future deaths.

“As a community, we must work together to implement changes in policy and in our community to ensure that no other families in Baton Rouge will endure this loss, trauma, or heartbreak,” Mayor Sharon Broome said in her statement.

The officer who shot Sterling during a struggle outside a convenience store lost his job and another officer was suspended. Neither was charged criminally after state and federal investigations. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Sterling’s five children in 2017 by their mothers. It sought damages for violation of Sterling’s civil rights and claimed the local government was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Blane Salamoni, the officer who fired the six shots that killed Sterling.

The agreement will pay $1 million upfront to Sterling’s children from East Baton Rouge Parish's insurance reserve funds, WBRZ-TV reported, with the remaining money being paid in equal installments over the next four years.

The initial funds will be allocated from the city-parish’s Insurance Reserve Fund, with the remaining payments pulled from the annual operating budget.

Sterling was fatally shot by Baton Rouge police responding to a complaint of a man with a gun outside a convenience store on North Foster Drive in 2016. Widespread protests followed after cellphone video of the encounter was spread online.

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