The family of Philando Castile, the Minnesota man fatally shot by a police officer during a July 2016 traffic stop, reached a settlement of nearly $3 million with the city that employed the officer at the time, both sides announced Monday.
The announcement marks the latest financial settlement to follow a deadly police shooting that spurred criminal charges but not a conviction. It was announced a week and a half after the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted in the fatal shooting, the aftermath of which was streamed on Facebook Live and seen worldwide.
Valerie Castile, the driver’s mother, will receive $2.995 million as part of the settlement, she said in a joint statement with the city of St. Anthony, Minn.
“The city and [Valerie Castile] were able to reach this agreement avoiding a federal civil rights lawsuit which may have taken years to work its way through the courts exacerbating the suffering of the family and of the community,” the statement said. Castile’s family had previously said they planned to file a lawsuit.
According to the statement, the settlement will be paid through St. Anthony’s coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, and no taxpayer funds from the city itself will be used to pay for it.
Yanez had said he feared for his life during the encounter, which began as a routine traffic stop in the Twin Cities area. After being pulled over, Castile told Yanez that he had a firearm on him. What happened next was captured in a graphic dashboard-camera video recording released last week: Yanez yelled at Castile not to “pull it out,” and Castile said he was not, which his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, echoed from the passenger seat.
Yanez, who said afterward that he thought Castile was pulling out his gun, thrust his own weapon into the car and fired a series of shots, fatally wounding Castile.
Moments later, Reynolds pulled out her phone and began streaming on Facebook, saying that Castile was reaching for his license rather than his gun. Her recording reverberated worldwide, spurring outrage and protests.
Yanez was acquitted on June 17, a decision that was followed in quick succession by juries last week voting to acquit or deadlocking when considering fatal shootings by police officers in Wisconsin and Ohio.
While officers are rarely charged for fatal on-duty shootings, more have been prosecuted in recent years, a decision experts attribute to a combination of political pressure and more video recordings. However, juries still rarely vote to convict officers in these cases.
Settlements often follow in cases where charges are not filed, juries do not vote to convict or the legal outcome remain in doubt. North Charleston, S.C., reached a $6.5 million settlement with the family of Walter Scott, who was fleeing a traffic stop there in 2015. A jury deadlocked in the case of Michael Slager, the officer who shot Scott, and he later pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge.
Last week, the parents of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager fatally shot by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in 2014, settled their wrongful death lawsuit; the announcement was not initially made public, but the Ferguson city attorney later said it was for $1.5 million. A grand jury opted not to indict that officer, Darren Wilson, and the Justice Department also declined to pursue federal charges.
In Ohio, where a jury last week was the second to deadlock when considering a former University of Cincinnati officer’s fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose during a 2015 traffic stop, the school last year agreed to pay $4.85 million to DuBose’s family as part of a settlement. Prosecutors have not said if they plan to prosecute the officer, Raymond Tensing, a third time.
In 2015, the family of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after being placed in a police chokehold, settled with New York City for $5.9 million. A New York grand jury declined to bring charges against the officer; federal officials have disagreed about possible civil rights charges, and no decision has been announced.
After Yanez was acquitted in Minnesota, St. Anthony officials said he was not welcome back to the city’s police force. On Monday, in announcing the settlement, city officials said they were committed to improving trust between residents and the officers policing the community.
“The death of Philando Castile is a tragedy for his family and for our community,” the statement from Valerie Castile and St. Anthony said. “The parties moved expeditiously to resolve potential civil claims resulting from this tragedy in order to allow the process of healing to move forward for the Castile family, for the people of St. Anthony Village, and for all those impacted by the death of Philando Castile throughout the United States.”
This story, first published at 9:20 a.m., has been updated.