Three Maryland towns have reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the family of Anton Black, a 19-year-old Black man who was killed at the hands of police nearly four years ago, ABC News reports.
Black, a star high school athlete, died on September 15, 2018, after officers from the Centreville, Greensboro, and Ridgley police departments pinned his legs, arms, and shoulders and held him face down for six minutes, according to the family's federal lawsuit filed in 2020.
"I had to watch those police officers kill my son, while he pleaded for his life and called out to me. There are no words to describe the immense hurt that I will always feel when I think back on that tragic day, when I think of my son," Black's mother, Janell Black, said in a statement Monday (August 8).
Almost two years after filing the suit, the Black family will now receive $5 million per a settlement agreement reached with the Maryland towns.
The three towns have also agreed to overhaul their police departments' policies and training of officers to avoid deaths like Black's in the future, the family's attorney said.
According to the suit, police confronted Black after a woman called 911 claiming that he was fighting another boy.
Black, who had been diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder, was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of the police response.
He ran when approached by a responding police officer, the lawsuit said. Officers then chased Black and used a taser to get him to the ground, where he was pinned until unconscious.
The lawsuit alleged that the officers used excessive force and tried to cover up the killing by falsely claiming that Black was under the influence of drugs that gave him "superhuman" strength.
However, a toxicology report released after his death showed no drugs in his system at the time of the fatal detainment.
The Blacks are also pursuing litigation against state medical examiner David Fowler, who has been linked to the cover-up of the killing, according to the family.
Fowler released an autopsy four months after the incident that deemed congenital heart abnormalities as Black's cause of death and said there was no evidence that officers had killed him.
"Anton Black did not deserve this," Black's sister, LaToya Holley, said in a statement Monday. "He will never be forgotten. He was such a sweet, nice, and loving person. There will always be a part of him in my heart."