BUZZFEED — Billy Murphy, the prominent attorney who represents the family of Freddie Gray, said Wednesday that the announcement of the $6.4 million settlement awarded to his clients by the city of Baltimore was intended to have a “calming effect” on the eve of a contentious hearing.
“The Gray family and the city both have a vital interest in preventing violence,” Murphy told reporters during a press conference at his offices in downtown Baltimore.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died on April 19 after suffering a catastrophic spine injury while aboard a police van. His death inspired widespread protests against police brutality and triggered riots that left several stores looted and over one hundred cars burned.
The unrest subsided on May 1, when State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced her intention to charge six Baltimore police officers involved in Gray’s death with crimes ranging from murder to misconduct in office. All of the officers pleaded not guilty.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 8, 2015
Look, I’ve never been racially persecuted against and I most likely never will be. I’m a white dude from a Midwestern suburb. My dad is a dentist. So I’ve seen the world through a SIGNIFICANTLY different lens than the Gray family.
But the family doesn’t settle for $6.4 million because they want to “calm” anyone. They settle for $6.4 million because it’s six point four million dollars. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Your son was taken farrrrr too early and under inexcusable circumstances. Money ain’t going to bring him back, but it sure will make life easier. So you settled for a huge chunk of change and now you’re moving on. All things considered, that’s totally fine.
But it wasn’t to calm Baltimore. The city of Baltimore, on the other hand, would do anything to calm Baltimore. To stop the riots. Of course. But the family settled because $6.4 million is a helluva lot better than 0 and continued chaos. That’s fine, but let’s call it what it is.