Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray's 'Nickel Ride' Will Cost Baltimore $6.4 Million

Settlement announced in man's death while in police custody


Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray died in the custody of Balitmore Police. He was banged up so badly in the back of police van in the process of being transported to jail for allegedly possessing an illegal switchblade, his spine was injured, he slipped into a coma and died. His death was ruled a homicide. Six police officers face various charges for his death and Baltimore has faced anger and unrest from citizens since the April incident.

While the city works on making its criminal case against the police officers, it appears it wants to resolve the civil case, and they're sparing no expense. Today, media outlets are reporting that Baltimore will pay Gray's family a massive sum—$6.4 million—over two years to settle a civil suit. The Baltimore Sun notes that this payment would be larger than the total for all the other civil police misconduct suits (all 120 of them!) brought against the city since 2011:

The city is accepting all civil liability in Gray's arrest and death, but does not acknowledge any wrongdoing by the police, according to a statement from [Mayor Stephanie] Rawlings-Blake's administration.

"The proposed settlement agreement going before the Board of Estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial," the mayor said in a statement. "This settlement is being proposed 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."

The state actually caps most police abuse civil settlements at $400,000, The Baltimore Sun notes, but governments can negotiate higher payouts. The city has been forthcoming in some previous cases, but not all of them:

The city paid out $6 million about a decade ago to a man who become paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a van ride. A jury had awarded Jeffrey Alston $39 million in 2004 case, but the amount was reduced through the city settlement.

In another case, the state Court of Special Appeals reduced a $7.4 million jury award to the family of Dondi Johnson Sr. to $219,000. Johnson was paralyzed, and died two weeks later, after a 2005 police van ride that fractured his neck.

Reason's coverage of Freddie Gray's death, and the outcry that followed, can be read through here

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  1. While the city works on making its criminal case against the police officers,

    It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes to investigate an allegation against cops. They usually involve a very defined incident and set of witnesses. Seems like you could wrap them up in a couple of months, tops.

    1. The problem is the only witnesses who are still alive are cops, and they have that whole “don’t snitch” thing going on.

      1. So we can get some gang members to roll over, but not others?

        Makes me wonder how hard we try.

        1. Gang members you plant a bag on and threaten with mandatory life-in-prison and asset forfeiture. Cops you can threaten with… um… a union scolding?

    2. The investigation is over. They’re just trying to figure out how they can try to make these charges and not get laughed out of the courtroom – though the drawings of the “judge”, who should have but didn’t throw them out on their ears, is an indication this trial will be mostly laughed at from the outside, blood being thicker than water.
      As for how long it takes to get to trial, this is not unique to police-charging – trial dates are frequently months out from when requested.

  2. Freddie Gray’s ‘Nickel Ride’ Will Cost the taxpayers of Baltimore $6.4 Million


    1. ^This.

    2. Nothing to indicate this was a “nickel ride” at all (and not a Oblama, HiLIARy or Tom Brady “no evidence”, where evidence was denied or destroyed).
      The other “upstanding citizen” in the wagon said so.

      1. Yeah, I don’t know why this fact is ignored.

        The driver was black, and at least one other officer who handled him was black. They nickle rode him death out of racism?

        You don’t need to be a racist to murder someone, but this doesn’t fit the narrative ready made for this kind of incident.

    3. They wouldn’t! Politicians aren’t liable, so… Waitaminnit! Are you telling me the morons that could have voted libertarian when they had the chance are getting stuck with the bill?

  3. but does not acknowledge any wrongdoing by the police

    CTRL-F’ed for this phrase, was not disappointed.

    1. It’s pretty F’ed up, for sure.

  4. And the broke City of Baltimore will pay that how exactly?

    1. Taxes on TEH RICH and the EVUL KKKERPERASHUNZ!!!!

      1. Are there any of either left there?

        1. They have infinite moneys. They are just hiding them in offshore accounts and EVUL PROFITS.

    2. They are hoping this will sway the jury to convict the police officers and then be able to use the conviction to defend the lawsuits, by businesses destroyed because of the mayor’s “stand down” order, by saying it was all the fault of lawless cops.
      Hey, they’re desperate to place the blame anywhere, except for where it belongs.

  5. So, name it something other than a nickel ride, I guess?

    1. Inflation’s a bitch.

    2. How many decades do you think this has been going on?

    3. The one hundred $64,000 questions ride?
      Back in the teens and 20s there were a lot of trolley monopolies and political fights over nickel fares.

  6. They can just take that money from the phat profits they’ve made on the city-owned Hilton Hotel at the Inner Harbor.

    Umm, never mind.…..story.html

    1. The city-owned Hilton Baltimore convention center hotel lost $5.6 million last year

      In 2013, the hotel lost $2.9 million ? the best performance in the taxpayer-financed project’s history

      Jeffrey P. Pillas, the chief financial officer of the Baltimore Development Corp., stressed that the hotel has contributed 400 jobs to the local economy ? 80 percent of which have gone to Baltimore residents

      Behold the efficiency of government, divorced from the icky profit motive.

      1. Yeah but their motives are pure and altruistic. That’s gotta be worth something, right?

    2. Based on the losses, Baltimore is better at running a hotel than at running a police department.

      1. What makes you think the Baltimore City Government is in control of their cops?

        1. Judging by recent events, it’s more of a symbiotic than adversarial relationship between the city government and the city police. The relationship of the two with the people of the city, on the other hand…

  7. Lots more Freddie Grays in Baltimore’s future, the city will need to collect a lot of money from the predominantly poor, black inhabitants using the police as revenue collectors.

    1. Or they go crying to the state government for “financial assistance”. Heck, who am I kidding, the answer is both!

    2. Or repeal some prohibition laws?

  8. Politicians and assorted city bureaucrats “concerned” for the pocketbooks of The Taxpayer, pardon my while I’m doubled over, hysterical with laughter.

  9. Probably the worst thing in this article is that the state court of appeals knocked down the damages awarded for killing a man with a nickel ride to a little over $200K.

  10. Wrongdoing by police? What’s that?

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