New York county reaches $1.75 million settlement with family of man fatally shot by police in 2011

Jun 21, 2024, 2:09 PM | Updated: 3:48 pm

SELDEN, N.Y. (AP) — A New York county has reached a $1.75 million settlement with the family of a man shot and killed by police in his home in 2011.

Suffolk County, on Long Island, has agreed to pay the settlement to the family of Kevin Callahan, County Legislator Rob Trotta, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, confirmed Friday.

The Republican said the agreement was approved Thursday by his committee, which gives the go-ahead for large county settlements. He declined to comment further.

A lawyer representing Callahan’s family in a federal lawsuit against the county over the shooting death called the settlement fair.

“Nothing will bring back Kevin, but after 13 years, his family is at peace with the resolution and glad not to have to sit through a trial,” said Bruce Barket.

Callahan, a 26-year-old Selden resident, was shot to death by a Suffolk County police officer responding to a 911 call at his home in September 2011.

Callahan’s brother, Christopher, had called police after he said his brother told them there was a man with a gun inside the residence. It was unclear who Callahan was referencing.

But the family claimed in a lawsuit against the county that the responding officer used excessive force. Police have said that when the officer arrived, Callahan attacked him. The officer then shot him because he believed Callahan was trying to take his gun.

Lou Civello, president of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, said Friday that the now retired officer, Thomas Wilson, had acted appropriately and in accordance with his training.

“Police officers are forced to make split-second, life-and-death decisions, and even if you do everything right, you have a tragic outcome,” he said. “We hope this settlement brings the family some closure.”

This month’s settlement was reached before the Callahan family’s suit was set for a new federal trial on June 12. The civil case went to trial in 2015 and a jury sided with the county. But the family appealed.

Federal court records show attorneys for the family notified the court on June 10 that an agreement had been reached. The case was dismissed the following day.

Spokespersons for the county executive’s office and police department didn’t respond to emails seeking comment Friday.

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New York county reaches $1.75 million settlement with family of man fatally shot by police in 2011