YORK, Pa. (AP) — The family of a shoplifter fatally shot by police outside a Kmart in Pennsylvania has reached a $285,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit over the man’s death more than four years ago.
According to the settlement, York County will pay $10,000 and Springettsbury Township $275,000 in the case brought by the family of 40-year-old Todd William Shultz, the York Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2pGk6RW ) reported Wednesday.
Shultz was killed after police said he resisted multiple attempts to arrest him outside the store in December 2012. Shultz was armed with a knife and scissors, prompting officers to hit him with batons and a stun gun before shooting him.
Williams’ family contended he was trying to withdraw into the store — or at least stumbling sideways toward the entrance — and not advancing toward the officers in a threatening manner when he was shot.
“Todd Shultz’s death was tragic, but as a result of the lawsuit we now have a new police chief who has partnered with the Department of Justice and essentially made the change that the public needed in order to build the necessary trust with its police department,” said Devon Jacob, the attorney who represented Shultz’s family. “As a result the family is satisfied with the outcome of the litigation.”
The family originally sought $8 million in damages.
Township Police Chief Dan Stump was opposed to the settlement.
“I stand behind the officers and their actions (during) that tragic situation,” Stump said. “No one wants to use deadly force — that’s your worst nightmare as an officer.”
The Justice Department investigated the department after Jacob sent a letter to the FBI accusing the township police of going “rogue” and saying the “public was in grave danger.”
Stump said township police in February 2016 joined with the federal Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center, an arm of the Justice Department, “to identify blind spots and gaps” in the department. The Shultz shooting was not the sole reason the township did that, the chief said.
“We’ve made a lot of changes. We learn from everything we do on a daily basis, (including) this tragic event,” Stump said.
Township manager Benjamin Marchant said the township supervisors also are disappointed with the settlement, which he said was a “business decision” made by the township’s insurance carrier that settling the case would cost less than going to trial.
Information from: The York Dispatch, http://www.yorkdispatch.com
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