The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last July, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city that employed the officer, avoiding a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve.
The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile, who is the family’s trustee, was announced Monday and comes less than two weeks after officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges connected to her son’s death.
Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile informed the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun.
The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook.
The acquittal of Yanez, who is Latino, prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul that shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests.The $2.995 million settlement for Valerie Castile will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St. Anthony.
The plan for distribution of funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks.Robert Bennett, who along with attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said a decision was made to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds.” The settlement will also allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said.
“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.”
Bennett said the foundation’s mission is to provide financial support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence.