Officials have put a range of price tags on Black lives in the settlement payoffs surrounding high-profile police shootings of unarmed Black people over the past few years. In one of the latest cases, Baltimore was complaining about the tens of millions of dollars a court said it owed the family of a Black woman police killed under suspicious circumstances.
Baltimore County asked the court on Monday to reduce a payout of $38 million for the fatal shooting of Korryn Gaines, the Baltimore Sun reported. The police killed Gaines, 23, in a six-hour standoff in 2016 and injured her young son, who received $32.87 million of the award as compensation.
Government officials, typically with no apology to victims’ families, have been effectively writing checks and moving on with their lives. The settlement amounts in high-profile cases vary, ranging from the $6 million each for the shooting deaths of Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray to just $1.5 million for Michael Brown to a Minnesota town placing a value of $3 million on Philando Castile’s life.
Baltimore wants to gauge how much to pay based on Maryland law that limits how much municipalities compensate victims in these types of cases—up to $800,000 for all claims in a single incident—as a more reasonable figure. However, the jury sided with Gaines’ family based in part on federal civil rights statutes, which allow higher payments than the state limits.
This comes on the heels of Tulsa County, Oklahoma, settling a civil rights lawsuit with the family of Eric Harris for $6 million on Friday. In 2015, a volunteer deputy shot Harris—claiming that he thought his gun was a Taser—while officers restrained the suspect.