$3.25 million settlement approved in David Joseph police shooting


The Austin City Council on Thursday approved a $3.25 million settlement with the family of David Joseph, the unarmed, naked teenager gunned down by an Austin police officer in 2016.

The settlement marks the largest payout the city has ever made to the family of a victim of lethal police force.

Mayor Steve Adler announced the size of the settlement at the outset of Thursday’s City Council meeting. The Council approved the settlement just minutes into the meeting along with a block of several other items considered less controversial.

An Austin police officer shot and killed Joseph, 17, in February 2016 as the teenager charged at him in a Northeast Austin neighborhood. The officer, Geoffrey Freeman, was later fired after an internal police review of the shooting.

Police have said they believe Joseph was experiencing a mental health crisis during the incident.

The Talk: For Joseph family, police-race issue is deeply personal and complicated

As negotiations in the Joseph family lawsuit neared completion, it was thought that the settlement would top $2 million.

The City Council in 2014 approved a $1.25 million settlement with the three young children of Larry Jackson Jr. The city also paid $600,000 to Jackson’s parents and widow in 2016.

Jackson was unarmed when he was shot and killed in July 2013 by Austin police detective Charles Kleinert who was investigating a bank robbery. A grand jury indicted Kleinert on a manslaughter charge but a federal judge later dismissed the case, ruling that Kleinert was acting as a federal agent at the time of the shooting and immune to prosecution.

The Joseph shooting renewed tensions between Austin police and the city’s African-American community, prompting protests and calls for the officer responsible to be prosecuted.

A Travis County grand jury reviewed possible charges against Freeman but declined to indict the former officer.


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