Dallas to pay victim's family more than $1 million - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Dallas to pay victim's family more than $1 million; leaders weigh in on settlements

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The Dallas City Council settled another lawsuit because of bad behavior by its police officers.

With no public discussion, Dallas City Council approved paying a more than $1 million settlement to the family of Fred Bradford on Wednesday.

Bradford, 51, was killed when a DPD squad car collided with the bike he was riding.

An officer involved told investigators that Bradford, who was on his bicycle, turned into the officer's squad car as he pursued Bradford. The officer had tampered with the crime scene, and he was fired by Chief Brown and charged with negligent homicide.

Dallas has paid out almost $3 million in the past two years for excessive force and wrongful death settlements. Three of the incidents leading to those lawsuits were caught on police video tape.

Two city councilmembers are upset about continuously shelling out money to settle, but they differ on why the lawsuits keep coming and the city keeps paying.

"That's something Chief Brown has to kind of get a handle on with the police officers," said Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway. "We cannot continue to be sued and paying out taxpayers' dollars."

Despite videotape in some of the excessive force cases, Chief Brown says training is adequate and said in a statement, "We have and will continue to take a strong stance against officer misconduct both with employment actions and criminal charges."

"The problem I have with it, Shaun, is that we're sitting here settling cases because it's cheaper to settle cases than it is to fight it," said public safety chairman Sheffie Kedane. Kedane says he thinks the city is making a mistake writing settlement checks rather than working for their day in court.

"Really, the issue is on every lawsuit how much risk can the city council and the city manager tolerate?" said former U.S. attorney Richard Roper.

Roper says that there's always risks trying police abuse cases, especially where there is video, even if it doesn't show the entire confrontation.


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