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City settles wrongful death suit with family of fleeing man

New York City is apparently continuing to settle up on some important pending cases against the City. A $2 million settlement was just reached with the family of a 27 year-old man from Brooklyn who was killed in a pedestrian collision with a police car two years ago. The wrongful death complaint against the Police Department alleged that the man was unarmed and running on foot from the police when the pursuing squad car went onto the sidewalk in his path and caused a collision with him. He died of massive head injuries from the collision and/or from falling over on his head immediately after being struck.

The family is agreeing to the settlement but still wants an arrest of the police officers involved. The Brooklyn District Attorney reportedly continues to investigate the incident. The man was a cashier in a Brooklyn store who reportedly ran a side business of selling paving stones and other construction debris to scrap dealers. He had been arrested once for illegally digging up cobblestones.

The police allegedly received a report that someone was stealing paving stones. As police approached, he began to run in a path toward his mother’s nearby residence. Although the police claim that they stopped their car and were trying to block the entrance to the building, witnesses have come forth to testify that the police car was moving at the time of the collision.

The case drew some controversy previously when New York City sent the mother of the decedent a bill for $700 for repairs to the sidewalk. The police say they admitted no wrongdoing in the wrongful death settlement. Even though they were in pursuit of a suspect, the other side points out that it was a potential property offense and the suspect was unarmed. The police are not justified in using deadly force in such situations; instead, it is likely that their driving onto the sidewalk into the man's path was a reckless act that was foreseeably destined to cause serious bodily injury or death to the victim.

Source: The New York Times, "New York Settles Lawsuit Over Man Killed by Police Car", Stephanie Clifford, Aug. 8, 2014

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