BALTIMORE — A settlement was finalized Wednesday for dozens of businesses and individuals who sued the city after the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.
Now many of them will receive a portion of 3.5 million dollars for that settlement.
City leaders said a lawsuit against the city was filed by 68 business owners and individuals who sustained property damage during the unrest in Baltimore in April of 2015.
Sara Gross, the chief solicitor for the Baltimore City Law Department, said this settlement comes after years of litigation.
“This settlement agreement is the culmination of five years of litigation and a lengthy settlement,” Gross said.
The unrest happened following the murder of Freddie Gray while in police custody. That’s when dozens of businesses and people had their properties damaged. Today, half of the funds initially requested from the city were awarded thanks to the Riot Act.
“The riot act indicates that a municipality can be liable for property damage sustained during a riot or unrest if the plaintiff can show that the city should have known it was going to happen and taken steps to prevent it,” Gross said.
Jason Kin owns two of the businesses that were listed as plaintiffs who will now be receiving part of that 3.5 million dollars.
“Compared to other store owners we didn’t get heavily hit by these individuals our damage was minimal and small to other people’s,” Kin said.
He said although his main store didn’t sustain much damage, one of his other businesses, Blocks Discount Liquors on Reisterstown Road had to close because of the unrest. Now even though they’ve reached a settlement, he’s just glad the city is acknowledging where they made a mistake.
“We talking about dollars amount compared to our damage, you know mental damage the dollar amount is a piece of nothing. That’s why I said the dollar does not matter right now, it’s that we all felt that we were left out that night. That next day we were supposed to be protected but I don’t think we were,” Kin said.
City leaders like solicitor Jim Shea are hoping the business owners reinvest the settlement funds back into their business to help continue building our communities.
“It is important that these businesses put that money back into their business to help revitalize those neighborhoods, now they couldn’t require that or even monitor it in a settlement but that’s a valid concern,” Shea said.