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Medical Examiners in Maryland Agree to Adopt New Policies, to Better Address Deaths in Custody

Maryland state officials approved a settlement stemming from the death of Anton Black, a teenager who died five years ago during an encounter with a White police officer. The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will revamp how it handles autopsies of people who die in law enforcement custody under a settlement agreement approved Wednesday by state officials which says the state will also pay $235,000, largely split between Black’s relatives and their lawyers, The Washington Post reports. The action comes more than a year after three small Eastern Shore towns agreed to institute changes in policing and pay Black’s family $5 million, in a partial settlement.


The agreement approved Wednesday calls for the state to adopt a policy that explicitly addresses how medical examiners are to handle deaths in custody. Among other requirements, the new policy will require the office to adhere to National Association of Medical Examiners guidelines to include a “but for” principle that says if a death involving restraint would not have occurred but for the “unnatural factor, then the manner of death should be classified as unnatural.”

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