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City to give $100K to family of man killed by police

Baltimore officials plan to give $100,000 to the family of man shot and killed by police in a North Baltimore alley four years ago.

The city spending panel, the Board of Estimates, is expected on Wednesday to approve the payment to settle a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by the family of Shawn Corey Cannady, who was 30 at the time of his death.

On March 6, 2009, Baltimore Police Officer Jemell Rayam and two other detectives were driving past an alley near the 2800 block of W. Garrison Ave., when they saw Cannady with his "hands in his waist area," according to board documents. Suspecting that Cannady could be carrying a weapon, the officers pulled their vehicle into the alley and saw Cannady and another individual sitting in the front of a cream-colored Lexus, officials said.

The officers got out of their car, with badges hanging from their necks, and Rayam shined a flashlight into the vehicle, board documents say. According to police, Cannady began to drive the Lexus toward the officers, and Rayam fired one bullet into the vehicle "in an attempt to stop what he thought to be an attempt to hit the officers."

The car crashed into a nearby residence, and Cannady died two days later at Sinai Hospital as a result of the shooting, city officials said.

In 2011, Cannady's family filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against Rayam and the city.

Deputy City Solicitor David E. Ralph wrote in board documents that the city planned to settle the suit because of "factual issues and legal concerns including whether the officer's actions were reasonable to justify deadly force under the circumstances." Ralph wrote that city lawyers were also concerned with the "uncertainties and unpredictability of jury verdicts."

In 2009, the case sparked calls from elected officials and the NAACP for an investigation after The Sun reported that Rayam also was involved with shootings in June and October 2007, both of which the police department also ruled as justified. He received a citation of valor for his actions in one of those cases.

At the time, police were refusing to identify officers involved in shootings, a policy the agency has since changed.

Luke.Broadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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