Don’t Take It Personal, It’s Only Money

It was recently announced that the parents of Michael Brown have settled a wrongful death suit against the City of Ferguson. Many officers find this appalling and that is understandable, but remember it’s only money. Nothing the insurance company does change the facts and nothing you say will change the minds of those determined to claim “Hands up don’t shoot”.
Everyone in law enforcement remembers the events of Aug 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson engaged in a life or death battle with Michael Brown which ended with Brown dead. Almost immediately the media portrayed Brown as an innocent victim and Wilson as killing a black man for nothing more than walking in the street.

Eventually, Wilson would be cleared in the shooting. Multiple investigations would prove Brown had attacked Wilson and was advancing when shot, not surrendering as witnesses claimed. Even the Department of Justice, despite high-level pressure to the contrary, would clear Officer Wilson of civil rights violations. But this did not stop Brown’s parents from filing suit in May 2015 claiming wrongful death and civil rights violations due to excessive force.

Many believed the suit was destined for failure after all every independent investigation had cleared Wilson. However, this failed to take into account two very important aspects of a civil suit: (1) the lesser degree of evidence needed for a civil suit verse a criminal trial and (2) how insurance companies perform a risk assessment.

The truth is you never know how a civil hearing will go, especially if a jury is involved. Emotions can easily rule the day and multi- million dollar verdicts can be hand out when the evidence doesn’t support payment of a dime. Look at the lady who sued, and won, because McDonald’s coffee was hot. Insurance companies know this and so do the lawyers who sue them. Both often look for a settlement.

Although the details of the settlement have been sealed it didn’t take long for the figure of $1.5 Million to be leaked. For the lawyer, this is one for the win column and a hefty payday for his firm, usually 1/3 plus cost. For the insurance company, this is a bargain, the cost of litigation could be that much or more when you consider the fee for expert witnesses. Plus the jury could still find for the plaintiff AND award even more.

Point is that although this seems like a slap in the face to Officer Wilson and law enforcement as a whole it is nothing more than a business decision by the insurance company. Sure, BLM and a host of celebrity talking heads will use this to vindicate Brown and claim the city would have never settled if the claims were not true. Guess they have never been party to a lawsuit.
Hopefully, this lets everyone close the book on Michael Brown and lets Officer Wilson move on with his life. I am sure he will relive that Aug 9th every day for the rest of his life there is no reason for him to be assisted by the media every time he turns on the television.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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