Family of U.S. motorist gets nearly $3 million over police shooting

CHICAGO, USA – The family of a black motorist fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer, whose dying moments were livestreamed on Facebook, said Monday it had reached a nearly $3 million civil settlement with the US city that employed the acquitted cop.

The death of Philando Castile -- one in a series of high-profile shootings of African-Americans by police -- stunned the nation. His girlfriend Diamond Reynolds took to Facebook to livestream his agony as blood spread on Castile's shirt and the officer continued to yell orders with his gun drawn.

Jeronimo Yanez, 29, was found not guilty of manslaughter earlier this month for shooting the 32-year-old Castile during a traffic stop last year, after the driver informed the officer that he was carrying a gun, for which he had a legal permit. 

The $2.995 million settlement with St Anthony, a suburb of the state capital St Paul, avoids a federal civil rights lawsuit, "which may have taken years to work its way through the courts, exacerbating the suffering of the family and of the community," according to a joint statement released Monday by the city and Castile family attorneys. 

"No amount of money could ever replace Philando," the statement said, adding that the money – to be paid by the city's insurance and not through taxpayer funds – would be used to fund a foundation in Castile's name. 

Police car video of the shooting released last week shows the exchange between Yanez and Castile lasting less than a minute before the officer shoots Castile at close range.

Following Yanez's acquittal, St Anthony said it would no longer employ him as a police officer. 

The verdict, which sparked renewed protests in Minnesota, was the first of a string of 3 trials in one week in which US prosecutors failed to secure convictions of police officers in questionable shootings – revealing the difficulty of prosecuting such cases, even with video evidence.

The trial of a former University of Cincinnati police officer accused of killing motorist Sam DuBose ended in a mistrial on Friday after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. 

And a Wisconsin jury last week acquitted a former police officer in the murder of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old man who was carrying a pistol during a brief foot chase that ended with Dominique Heaggan-Brown fatally shooting him.  –