BP had warned family NOT TO BLINK!
The family of Bahamian medical school graduate Lashano Gilbert, who died in police custody in Connecticut in 2014, has reached an undisclosed settlement over their $54 million federal civil rights lawsuit.
Gilbert’s aunt, Albertha Fletcher, and his mother, Donna Smith accused New London police officers of excessive force in the death of the 31-year-old man, and also named the attending hospital and emergency room physician as defendants in the lawsuit filed in 2016.
The state’s city council was expected to hold a closed door meeting to discuss and vote on the settlement last night.
Gilbert, who grew up in The Bahamas, is said to have graduated from a medical school in Cuba and was fluent in multiple languages. He was in the process of upgrading his medical licence in Canada. He was in New London to visit his aunt, Ms Fletcher, while travelling from Toronto to the Bahamas. On the evening of October 3, 2014, he jumped into a woman’s car, talked “gibberish” and assaulted her, authorities said.
He died on October 4, 2014 after a violent struggle with police officers – who arrested him for an attempted carjacking and assault – and reportedly used a taser and pepper spray as they attempted to restrain him in two separate instances. A towel was wrapped over his face at one point to keep him from biting officers, according to reports.
Gilbert became unresponsive and died in an ambulance taking him to a hospital from the police station. Several officers suffered minor injuries, according to reports.
Chief Medical Examiner James Gill determined Gilbert’s death was caused by complications from a sickle cell condition that was aggravated by his struggle with police. Mr Gill found no trauma or injury that would have caused his death.
Mr Gill ruled the death a homicide; however, the state’s attorney Michael Regan ruled that police officers were justified in using force to subdue him.
According to Connecticut news site, The Day, the settlement comes as trial preparations were underway.
According to the report, US District Judge Michael P Shea removed the hospital, the city and several officers from the suit in a summary judgment on Sept 25, 2018.
However, the article continued, the district judge ruled questions remained about claims of excessive use of force against four officers when Gilbert was being restrained at police headquarters.
The remaining four officers named in the suit are Richard Cable, Wayne Neff, Chris White and Christopher Bunkley.