The family of Freddie Gray is set to receive $6.4 million in a wrongful death settlement for their civil case against Baltimore officials.
Gray, 25, died from a severe spinal injury earlier this year while in police custody which ignited explosive, violent nation-wide protests and propelled the Black Lives Matter movement.
Although the settlement still must be approved by the city’s Board of Estimates, it could be viewed as a big win for Gray’s family since the amount is equal to more than the total amount of city payouts for alleged police brutality since 2011.
However, there’s still one big issue left on the table. The six officers involved with Gray’s death are still facing criminal charges.
The settlement reached only indicates that the city has accepted civil liability, but it reportedly doesn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing by the police.
Ceasar R. Goodson Jr., William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett E. Miller and Alicia D. White are the officers facing charges in Gray’s death including second-degree murder and manslaughter.
In fairness, the officers are going to get separate trials as ordered last week by a circuit judge who refused to dismiss the charges against them.
In essence, we could say that two wins have occurred for the Gray family and the prosecution in his case within the five months since Gray's passing.
Not only is the trial moving forward despite complaints of “prosecutorial misconduct,” the family will also be receiving a hefty amount of monetary compensation thanks to this settlement. But, as we celebrate the good things along the journey, let's not forget that true justice has yet to be served.
As we’ve seen in previous cases of this nature, the law seems to most often rule in favor of the officers. It has become a predictable pattern and serves as one of the reasons protestors seek criminal justice reform, among many others.
While the family of Freddie Gray deserves every penny of this settlement, we all need to remember that a young life was taken and you cannot put a price on one’s life.
Freddie Gray’s family, friends and supporters should not be appeased by this baby step in the right direction, but rather view it as motivation to continue the fight for the ultimate justice which is to see the six officers held accountable for their parts in his death.