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$5M Settlement In Death Of Black MD Teen Pinned Down By Police

Three towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore agreed to pay $5 million to the family of a Black teenager who was killed in an encounter with police officers in 2018. The announcement of a partial settlement in the federal lawsuit brought by the family of Anton Black came nearly four years after Black, a 19-year-old former star high school athlete with a nascent modeling career, died after being restrained by three police officers, who held him face down for about six minutes, pinning his shoulder, legs and arms. The towns agreed to make changes in how their police train officers, to prevent similar deaths, the New York Times reports.

Black’s death drew comparisons to the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground under the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, for more than nine minutes. When local prosecutors did not pursue charges, Black’s family filed a lawsuit arguing that police officers — all of whom were white — from the towns of Centreville, Greensboro and Ridgely had used excessive force on Sept. 15, 2018. The lawsuit also contended that the officers tried to cover up an unjustified killing by claiming that Black was under the influence of marijuana laced with another drug and had exhibited “superhuman” strength. An autopsy report by the state’s medical examiner blamed congenital heart abnormalities for Mr. Black’s death and classified the death as an accident, saying there was no evidence that the police officers’ actions had played a role. Litigation by Black's family against the medical examiner’s office is continuing.

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