The family of a mentally ill man shot nine times by North Kingstown police has agreed to settle a police brutality lawsuit against the town and police department for $7 million, according to papers filed in federal court in Providence last week.
Mark Kilcline, 18, was shot in Feb. 8, 2009, in his home. The officers said Kilcline was threatening them with a knife.
But a lawsuit filed by Kilcline's family says he was suffering a depressive episode and was getting dressed to have his landlady take him to a psychiatric hospital when three police officers arrived. They were called there by the mother of one of Kilcline's friends, who had seen him cut himself with a knife that morning.
The lawsuit says officers ran upstairs without permission and did not ask Kilcline to come out but instead kicked in his bedroom door, blindsiding him and barricading him inside. The officers believed they were in imminent danger because Kilcline was brandishing an 8-inch steak knife, a 2009 grand jury investigation found.
Kilcline was shot in the face, chest, abdomen, and arm and was permanently paralyzed. He died this year, and the lawsuit says his death was a result of the shooting. One of the officers was also shot by a fellow officer.
The officers involved were never charged with criminal wrongdoing. The officers acted "reasonably and professionally," then-Attorney General Patrick Lynch said after the grand jury investigation.
"I would add that they probably prevented a worse tragedy from occurring," Lynch said at the time.
Police Chief Thomas Mulligan said Tuesday it would be premature to comment because the matter is not fully resolved. He referred more questions to attorney Marc DeSisto, who said there was an agreement in place. He declined to comment further, saying the agreement had not been finalized.
The town manager did not immediately return messages.
U.S. District Judge William Smith is scheduled to hold a hearing about the proposed settlement next week.
Kilcline first sued in 2010. The lawsuit was amended after his death to add his mother and sister as plaintiffs.
Their suit made a number of claims, including that the officers violated Kilcline's civil rights and that the town failed to properly train its employees on their responsibilities and proper conduct toward people who are mentally ill. It also claimed that Kilcline was discriminated against because of his mental illness.
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