LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prince George’s County, Maryland, has reached a $20 million settlement with the family of an unarmed man killed this year while handcuffed inside a police vehicle, authorities said on Monday.
Corporal Michael Owen fatally shot William Green after arresting him in January 2020, officials have said. He was charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
The settlement is one of the largest publicized payments to the kin of a victim of police violence in U.S. history.
The family of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old whose 2014 killing by police in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a national uprising against police brutality, received a $1.5 million settlement in the wake of his death.
This month, the city of Louisville, Kentucky agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor, whose killing led to months of protests nationwide. Taylor was sleeping when police raided her apartment as part of an investigation into her boyfriend.
The Green case is the first time that Prince George’s County, outside the District of Columbia, has charged a police officer with murder for killing someone in the line of duty, county executive Angela Alsobrooks said at a briefing.
“It is our belief that when we are at fault, we take responsibility,” she said. “And in this case we are accepting responsibility.”
Tom Mooney, an attorney for Owen, said in an emailed statement that Owen had been charged in a “knee-jerk” manner that was “based on unsubstantiated or discounted facts,” and that the facts of the case would be revealed in court.
In a statement released after the settlement announcement, Prince George’s County State Attorney Aisha Braveboy said that despite the civil settlement, criminal charges were still pending against Owen.
“It is important to remember that he is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial,” she said.
Jury selection for the criminal trial is set to begin in mid-March.
Reporting by Mimi Dwyer; Editing by David Gregorio and Richard Pullin
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.