Metro council denies $5 million judgement for family of Alton Sterling
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council narrowly voted to deny a $5 million judgement to the family of Alton Sterling on Wednesday night.
The final vote was six council members in favor, five against, and one abstaining. The item needed a total of seven council members to vote yes in order for it to pass.
At the beginning of Wednesday night's meeting, comments from community members were read, a majority voicing their disapproval of the settlement.
Councilman Lamont Cole, a co-author of the resolution, was the first council member to speak in support of the $5 million for Sterling's family.
"We've been dealing with this now for four years, and I think it's time for us to move forward," Cole said.
Councilwoman Chauna Banks, another co-author of the resolution, also voiced her support and said the city parish could end up with a larger lawsuit if the situation is not resolved.
Other council members, like Jennifer Racca and Matt Watson, said there are still lots of questions surrounding the case and that it should be decided in trial.
In an email obtained by WBRZ this week, the city-parish attorney asked the metro council to reconsider the $5 million figure. The email says, "our office would prefer a settlement over trial" and that "a number exists but it is not $5 million."
That number, which was proposed by a mediator appointed in October of last year, is higher than any similar police shooting settlements in the area. Including the Danzinger Bridge case in New Orleans, where police shot and killed two people and injured four others. The highest settlement in that case was just over $2 million.
The city-parish attorney also noted during the meeting that they were working towards a solid settlement number with council members before the coronavirus pandemic hit Louisiana.
The $5 million would have come from the city-parish's $20 million insurance fund.
With no judgement reached tonight, the case will head to court in March, nearly five years after Sterling was killed.
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