Baltimore City to pay $145,000 in police wrongful-death settlement

Baltimore's spending panel is poised to approve a $145,000 settlement in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed after a 2012 fatal shooting by police.

The Board of Estimates will vote Wednesday on whether to pay relatives of George B. Wells III, who was shot and killed after an alleged domestic-violence incident in Reservoir Hill. The city has agreed to pay about $13 million since 2011 in settlements and court judgments for lawsuits alleging brutality and other police misconduct.


Police were called to the 2500 block of Brookfield Ave. about 11:15 a.m. on March 31, 2012, after Wells choked a woman at the house and threw her down, according to a description presented to the board. Wells ran out the back door, the description says.

The woman and her son provided police with a description of Wells and the clothes he was wearing. As Officer Jethro Estavien looked for the suspect, he saw a man partially matching the description stepping into the street near Druid Lake and pulled his car in front of the man to block his path.

Estavien asked the man to take his hands out of his pockets, but the man began looking around and backing up, leading the officer to believe he was going to run. Estavien grabbed the man's hoodie to stop him from running, and the man pulled out a knife and raised it, the document summary says.

The officer then shot the man, later identified as Wells. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and died about an hour later.

The Law Department recommends the city settle the case due to conflicting factual information and the uncertainty of jury verdicts. The money will be paid to Wells' estate.

Settlements of wrongful-death suits involving Baltimore police are typically less than $200,000. One outlier is the $6.4 million the city agreed to pay the family of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man whose arrest and death set off rioting in the city last year.

Estavien could not be reached for comment.

The board also is expected to approve $25,000 to settle a case involving Shaun Redden for an injury he suffered as a student at W.E.B. DuBois High School on March 20, 2003.

Redden, then a junior, was allegedly pushed by another student while walking in the hallway between classes. As he tried to brace himself from a fall, his hand struck a metal plate that was sticking out of the wall. The plate had been reported for repairs but not fixed.

Redden's hand was severely injured, according to information provided to the board. Efforts to locate Redden for comment were not successful.

The school closed last year.