Family Of White Woman Killed By Cop Gets Payout Over Six Times More Than That Of Fellow Minnesotan Philando Castile
Justine Ruszczyk Damond should have never been killed but neither should have Philando Castile.
May 06, 2019 at 10:06 pm
Although the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond echoes that of many Black Americans, many are speaking out about the hypocrisy of her family's settlement payout.
As Blavity reported, former Minnesota police officer Mohamed Noor was found guilty of shooting and killing 40-year-old Damond in 2017 while responding to her emergency call about an alleged sexual assault. The incident has become the first documented conviction of a case related to a killing by an on-duty cop in the state of Minnesota.
Last Tuesday, a jury found the 33-year-old responsible for third-degree murder and manslaughter. The Somali-American former officer is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7.
As FOX 9 reports, the settlement case for the victim's family is also groundbreaking. Damond's family will receive four-times the usual payout amount. Her family will receive a total of $20 million in grievances.
Veteran Minneapolis trial lawyer and civil rights advocate, Paul Applebaum, told the publication that he was shocked with the results of the settlement. He noted that most cases take years to reach an agreement while this one only took a few days.
In comparison, two years ago the family of Philando Castile was awarded $3 million for the wrongful death of the cafeteria supervisor. The 32-year-old who was shot and killed in the driver's seat of his car during a routine pullover by a Minneapolis police officer due to broken tail light, as Blavity reported.
Minnesota finally finds a cop they can hold accountable 4 an on-duty shooting & it's a rookie Somali immigrant cop who killed a sympathetic White woman. Even when doing the right thing, the criminal justice system reveals the hypocrisy of what they haven't been willing 2 do 4 us. pic.twitter.com/aTrjHhWo1P— skeptical brotha 🌈 (@skepticalbrotha) May 1, 2019
#PhilandoCastile's murder was broadcast on facebook live. he was shot to death in the presence of his girlfriend and her four-year-old child. There were no grounds for deadly use of force. No accountability. Castile lived his life as a perpetual target 4 racist traffic stops. pic.twitter.com/b8Er03TC7b— skeptical brotha 🌈 (@skepticalbrotha) May 1, 2019
“I’m worried about the future and I’m worried this is a divisive settlement rather than actually bringing that chapter to a close,” Applebaum said. “It’s going to be tough for the city to push back and argue that your demands are unrealistic or unreasonable when they’ve gone and written a check for $20 million on a case like this."
The city, which Applebaum says usually offers $4 to $6 million to families in such cases, reportedly paid the hefty price out of their own self-insurance fund. According to reports, Minneapolis does not have outer-state insurance for these instances. Still, the city claims the amount will not affect their yearly expenditures.
Two million dollars of the settlement will also be dispersed to the Fund for Safe Communities at the Minneapolis Foundation, while the rest will be reserved for the Ruszczyk family who stated they were looking for a “transformational" award prior to the agreement.
Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, stated that the additional $2 million fund was a "priority for the city council and the mayor" in order to "address other issues of police violence in our communities," CBS Local reports.
The Minneapolis Police Federation seemed to push back on Bender's comments in a statement released following the monetary agreement. “The Federation commends city leadership on reaching a quick settlement, and moving forward in the healing process," he said. "We strongly disagree on some blanket statements made by council members on the false narrative of police violence. This was an isolated incident, and we have an excellent police force.”
Still, the unprecedented award is questionable to many who have watched people of color, especially Black people, die by the hands of police enforcement and receive neither a conviction nor a reformative settlement.
“It’s not just me, I really am blown away by this,” Applebaum said, and many people on social media have been echoing the sentiment.
Reporters ask Mayor Frey why Justine's death cost the city so much more than any other person of color killed by police? Would result be different if officer was white and deceased was black?— Brandt Williams (@BrandtMPR) May 3, 2019
#CharleenaLyles calls 911 for help and gets killed by police.— Harry Triple O (@HarryO1975) May 1, 2019
No charges.#JustineRuszczyk calls 911 for help and gets killed by police.
Cop found guilty.#AiyanaJones killed by police crossfire.
No charges.#JeremyMardis killed by police crossfire.
Cop found guilty.
Mohamed Noor, a Black Minneapolis police officer, was convicted by a jury for the murder of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 1, 2019
The prosecutor, who chose not to charge white officers in the past, denied claims by activists that race played a factor. pic.twitter.com/Gt9YMm7XlT
Three things different here from most cases of police violence:— Aditi Juneja (@AditiJuneja3) April 30, 2019
1. Victim was a white woman
2. Victim was Australian (so there was outrage abroad)
3. Cop was a person of color
Every victim of police violence deserves the justice that #JustineRuszczyk got. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/VyW1nzDyqE
Many locals have voiced their concerns over the contrasting payouts. Unfortunately, the issue has yet to be addressed by the Minneapolis Police Department. It seems that many are waiting for an answer we already know.
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