A federal judge approved a secret settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Michael Brown over his 2014 shooting death at the hands of now former Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the settlement amount was not disclosed Tuesday in U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber’s order approving it, with Webber only noting that the gross amount is “fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death clear and is in the best interests of each plaintiff.”
Webber also noted that the split of the amount between Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden, “is fair and reasonable,” and that the agreement “provides for a reasonable amount” for attorney fees and expenses.
Brown’s parents filed the lawsuit back in May 2015, claiming that a police culture of pervasive hostility toward black Americans led to the death of their 18-year-old son. It accused Wilson of using excessive and unreasonable force, and claimed that Wilson and other officers were poorly trained.
The Post-Dispatch notes that settlements involving public entities are usually open records under Missouri law, but that Webber ordered it sealed, saying that it should be considered a closed record under Missouri’s Sunshine Law “due to the adverse impact to plaintiffs should it be disclosed.”
“Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties or investigators. The public policy to consider records open is outweighed by the adverse impact to plaintiffs,” Webber wrote in his order.
However, state law does require that the figure on the settlement be disclosed, the report notes. The Post-Dispatch reported earlier that the settlement would likely be for less than $3 million.
Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.