110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
City settles with Brown family
$550K payment, “It doesn’t bring him back”
posted Aug 21, 2013 - 10:41:42am
The family of Marlon Brown, who was killed May 8 under the wheels of a DeLand Police Department patrol car, has agreed to settle with the city’s insurance company for $550,000.
“We’re still unhappy; we’re still sad,” Brown’s ex-wife Krystal Brown said. “It won’t bring him back.”
The settlement was approved at a special meeting Aug. 21 called by DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar. As part of the agreement, the family will not pursue further action against the city in the matter of Brown’s death.
At the meeting, Apgar expressed the city’s condolences to the family, and said the city understood money couldn’t bring back the father of the three children, all of whom attended the meeting at DeLand City Hall. Apgar said working together with Krystal Brown to reach this settlement saved expensive and emotional litigation for both parties.
City Manager Michael Pleus said the city has worked to help the community heal from the tragedy. Being proactive about potential civil litigation was one step closer, Pleus said.
“The city has acted responsibly and proactively,” Apgar said.
DeLand Police Officer James Harris, 25, ran over and killed Brown around 12:30 a.m. May 8. Marlon Brown’s death was the culmination of events that started when a sheriff’s deputy tried to stop Brown for a seat-belt violation. Brown didn’t stop, but drove away at 25 mph, according to a Sheriff’s Office report. DeLand officers Harris and Justin Ferrari picked up the pursuit.
According to the FHP preliminary report, the officers followed Brown a couple of short blocks to a dead end and a field on South Delaware Avenue. Ferrari’s police vehicle stopped behind Brown’s vehicle. Harris’ vehicle came around the left side of Ferrari’s vehicle and struck, then ran over Brown, who had gotten out of his car and was apparently fleeing on foot.
In continuing the pursuit and in driving around Ferrari’s vehicle, Harris may have violated DeLand police policies and procedures. Harris has since been fired by DeLand Police Chief Bill Ridgway.
The State Attorney’s Office has promised to conclude in September its investigation into Brown’s death under the wheels of a DeLand police vehicle.
The state attorney will decide whether the police officer driving that cruiser — or anyone else — will be charged with a crime.
“We don’t want anyone to think this is over,” Krystal Brown said. “It’s not over. The civil portion is over. The criminal portion is still open.”
“Our insurance company has reached a pre-suit mediated settlement with the estate of Marlon Brown,” Pleus reported to the City Commission. “The settlement for $550,000 represents a full and final settlement and releases the City from any and all claims resulting from the tragic death of Marlon Brown on May 8, 2013.”
The settlement agreement names Brown’s ex-wife, Krystal, and his heirs, including Armani Chanel Brown, Marlon Brown Jr. and DeAndre Williamson, as among the beneficiaries agreeing to the settlement.
The agreement also notes that the city and its insurance company “have denied and continue to deny any wrongdoing on their respective parts.” The settlement is being made by the city, the insurance company said, “to avoid further costs of potential litigation.”
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