Settlement reached in police-involved shooting of man in a wheelchair

Delaware police shoot man in wheelchair
Delaware police shoot man in wheelchair

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  • $1.5 million settlement reached in death of Jeremy McDole
  • Wilmington police to review deescalation techniques

(CNN)A $1.5 million settlement has been reached in the 2015 Wilmington, Delaware, police-involved shooting death of a man in a wheelchair.

Jeremy McDole, who was disabled, was shot and killed by police in September 2015. Police Chief Bobby Cummings said then that police had received a call that there was a man suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
When police arrived at the scene, they found that McDole, 28, was still armed with a .38-caliber gun.
In a video of the incident, police call out to McDole to drop his gun and put his hands up. McDole, who was paralyzed from the waist down, doesn't comply with the officers, and police open fire. Police asserted that McDole might fire his weapon at them.
As a part of the settlement, Wilmington Police will evaluate its deescalation tactics and training for officers.
Specifically, the department will look to cities that have successfully implemented such policies, such as Seattle and Cleveland, for guidance. Police will also meet and engage with members of McDole's family about those issues. The settlement came after eight weeks of mediation, Thomas Neuberger, the attorney for McDole's family, said.
The city does not acknowledge wrongdoing as a part of the settlement, according to a joint statement made by the city and the McDole family.
"The foregoing are not intended as a concession by the City that there are (or were) shortcomings in the WPD's policies or training," the statement reads in part. "Instead, the WPD remains committed to ensuring that its policies and training are up to date and remain consistent with acceptable police procedures."
The settlement comes after a May 2016 report by the Delaware Department of Justice about McDole's death. It pointed out "serious deficiencies" in the training of Wilmington officers and the department's use of force policies.
However, the DDOJ did not find probable cause to prosecute three of the four officers involved. The state Attorney General had initially recommended that the fourth officer be charged with felony assault, but after consulting with national police use-of-force experts, they did not believe they had sufficient evidence to charge him.
The settlement is still subject to approval by a judge during a hearing set for January.
Neuberger said that the family is committed to working with the city to establish policies that will protect minorities and poor people in their interactions with police.
"We're optimistic that if [the Wilmington police] do change their policies then [McDole] will not have died in vain," Neuberger said.