Yesterday, the city of Cleveland agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of Danny Withers, an unarmed bank robbery suspect who was fatally shot by a detective. The settlement came less than two weeks before a civil trial was set to begin in downtown Cleveland's federal court.
During the pretrial conference, held in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko, the settlement was reached and the impending trial canceled, as first reported by Cleveland.com
In 2010, Cleveland detective Daniel Zola fatally shot Withers in the chest after he emerged from a closet in a dimly-lit basement. According to court records, Zola claimed Withers quickly raised his right hand after another officer opened the closet and believed he was going to shoot. It was later discovered that Zola was unarmed.
Withers, 21, was killed at his grandmother's home on East 125th Street after Zola, accompanied by officers David Shapiro and Thomas Shoulders entered on a warrant in connection to a bank robbery where he threatened to shoot a teller, according to court filings.
In 2011, Withers' family filed suit but Boyko dismissed the lawsuit in 2015. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived it the next year in a 2-1 decision, saying a jury should decide on a factual dispute regarding how much time elapsed before Zola fired.
None of the officers were disciplined for the shooting and according to the Associated Press
, a city spokesperson has declined to comment.