Minneapolis - The family of a woman shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer has reached a $20 million settlement with the city, according to Mayor Jacob Frey. The officer was found guilty of third degree murder and manslaughter after the July 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk after Ruszczyk contacted 911 about a possible assault occurring behind her home.
The settlement is the biggest in Minneapolis history, the majority of which will go the victim’s family. $2 million will be donated to a fund for safe communities.
The mayor pointed out that the settlement is not a victory for anyone, but it does allow the city to move forward after the incident. He stated that he believes there will be uniting because everyone agrees the tragedy should have never occurred.
According to the lawyer for the victim’s family, the settlement came as a result of private mediation sessions. He stated the process “…required good faith negotiations on everyone's part, and frank discussions between my clients, the mayor, the city attorney, representatives of the city council, and the chief of police.”
He explained the family only agreed to the settlement if the amount would be transformational and something that would reform the police department. He called it “an unmistakable message to change the Minneapolis Police Department in ways that will help all communities.”
He also pointed out that he is hopeful this will result in changes, but if it does not, the $20 million sets a standard for future transgressions. He dismissed questions about whether race or gender was an issue in the case.