It’s nice that families are being compensated for the fatal violence committed by the state against their loved ones but not killing them in the first damn place is much preferred.
BOSSIP reported on the death of 19-year-old Anton Black back in March of 2019. Black’s name was one of the many that were shouted by protesters during the 2020 summer of reckoning. The teen was killed in front of his mother’s house by police officers in Greensboro, Maryland, after they were called with reports that Black was “dragging a boy down the street.”
The boy was a 12-year-old friend of Black’s and was not in any danger of being harmed according to Black’s mother per the Washington Post. However, the police treated the incident like a potential kidnapping and responded with overly aggressive force. Following a brief chase, the terrified teenager locked himself inside his family’s vehicle. Officers proceeded to smash the windows, shoot him with a taser and pin him to the ground for over five minutes before he even had a chance to step out of the car.
Moments later, Black had stopped breathing and later that evening he died in the hospital.
Now according to the Daily Record, this past Wednesday, Maryland officials approved a $235,000 settlement to be paid to the family on behalf of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The lawsuit was filed due to the way the medical examiner characterized Black’s passing as “sudden cardiac death” while naming the boy’s bipolar disorder as a “significant contributing condition.”
The autopsy explicitly stated that the police officers’ actions had no bearing whatsoever on Blacks’ death. the Daily Record reports that both the family and lawyers for the ACLU called that description cap.
Black’s death should have been ruled a homicide and that the medical examiners based their investigation and autopsy report on a police narrative that included “demonstrably false allegations of drug abuse.”
Multiple medical professionals including a Johns Hopkins University cardiologist and the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C. concluded that Black died of asphyxiation due to “pressure and positioning [that] prevented Black from being able to breathe, depriving him of the oxygen necessary for his brain and heart to function correctly.”
In addition to the cash, the settlement also requires that medical examiners undergo a new process by which they inform the public on how to challenge their findings and the protocol for how the office handles investigations into deaths that occur under police custody.
The Baltimore Sun reports that in August 2022 Black’s family was awarded $5 million in a federal lawsuit.
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