MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Following days of settlement discussion, the City of Minneapolis agreed to a $20 million settlement in the civil lawsuit with the family of Justine Ruszcyzk Damond.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced the city will be paying the family of Justine Ruszcyzk $20 million, $2 million of which the Ruszczyk family will donate to the Minneapolis Foundation's Fund for Safe Communities. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the settlement.
Mayor Jacob Frey announced the terms of the settlement in a press conference Friday afternoon. He said he fully supports the council's decision and will be approving the deal.
"This is not a victory for anyone, but rather a way for our city to move forward," said Mayor Frey. "I do believe we will move forward together, united in the shared belief that such a tragedy should never occur in our city."
“This is an unmistakable message to change the Minneapolis Police Department in ways that will help all its communities,” said Bob Bennett, the Ruszczyk’s family attorney.
Bennett said the family had hoped the amount would be "transformative." Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said there have already been departmental changes, such as to the body camera policy, since her death.
Don Damond, Justine's fiance, was critical of the police department following the verdict. He brought into question the department's motto "to protect with courage and to serve with compassion," and how those values weren't shown the night of the shooting.
"Unfortunately, that did not occur that night with Mr. Noor, but that is not reflective of the majority of the men and women in this department," said Arradondo. "As Mayor Frey said this was an unprecedented case where we had a former employee charged with third-degree murder."
Arradondo says there will be an internal review of the entire Damond case and of all the employees involved.
Tuesday, a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Noor is now in custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights.
Following Noor's conviction, the City of Minneapolis began to revisit the $50 million civil lawsuit filed by Damond's father against the city, Noor, his partner Matthew Harrity, former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, and current Chief Medaria Arrandondo. The Council was briefed by the city attorney Wednesday on the pending $50 million suit.
Previous largest settlements involving Minneapolis Police Department
Previously, largest Minneapolis police-related settlement happened in 2007 when Duy Ngo received $4.5 million. Officer Ngo was shot by another officer, who mistook him for a fleeing suspect.
$4,500,000: Ngo, Duy v. City of Minneapolis, 12/20/2007
$3,075,000: Smith, Larry (Trustee: David C. Smith), 6/27/2013
$2,189,128.66: Felder, Domenic Aris vs. City King & Loonsfoot, 6/17/2011
$1,000,000: Russell, Rickia, 12/9/2011
$980,226.83: Mische, Craig L., 12/1/1991