Lawsuit settled for $420k
BATON ROUGE - City leaders voted nine to two in favor of settling a nearly half a million dollar wrongful death lawsuit out of court Tuesday.
"It was senseless. It was reckless," Metro Council member C. Denise Marcelle said.
In March 2011, Baton Rouge Police Officer Christopher Magee shot and killed Carlos Harris, 21, outside of the Insomnia nightclub near Cortana Mall. Magee ordered Harris to move a car belonging to his friend, Ryan Dominque, after Dominque was put in the back of a police cruiser. Both men were leaving the nightclub.
Witnesses told WBRZ News 2 and detectives Harris told officer Magee he had been drinking and did not feel he should move the car. Dash cam video from that night shows the car, driven by Harris, abruptly move in reverse hitting police cars, then jolting forward, reversing again and crashing into cruisers and start to move forward again.
An officer sees Magee draw his weapon and point toward Harris and yells, "Don't draw Magee, too many people."
But, Magee opens fire as the car coasts to a stop. Harris was shot. He was unarmed and died due to his injuries.
A witness told police as Harris was bleeding in the car he said, "I didn't mean to do it."
A toxicology report showed Harris had a blood alcohol level of .089, which is impaired according to state law.
"[The incident] absolutely did not go by the book in my opinion," Marcelle said. "Several people told him not to shoot. First of all, you shouldn't tell someone who tells you he's inebriated to get in the vehicle and move it."
"At the time, the officer did what he thought was the best, and we can't play Monday morning quarterback," council member John Delgado said.
He wanted the settlement struck down because BRPD and the District Attorney both cleared Officer Magee of any wrongdoing.
"Although I understand that this shooting was a regrettable incident, it does not mean the city and the taxpayer's of this city are liable for this man's injuries or death," he said.
Council member Ronnie Edwards was the other person who voted against the settlement.
She said she did so because the parish has paid too many settlements already and by voting in favor of all of them it gives no accountability to the departments.
Magee is still with BRPD.
The $420,000 will go to Harris' six-year-old son.
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