FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – It’s the largest settlement in the City of Fresno’s history: $4.9 million is going to the family of 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding, who was shot and killed by Fresno police in 2017 after he and his brother were identified as suspects in the death of a teenager.
This comes right after the city reached a $4.4 million settlement with the family of Casimero Casillas, also fatally shot by police in 2015.
“We believe settling both of these cases is in the best interest of local taxpayers so that we don’t continue to spend millions of dollars on legal fees,” said Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias.
Arias says the city must pay the first three million dollars of each settlement before insurance picks up the rest of it. In order to pay off the settlements, he said, the police department’s budget will increase. However, the money won’t go towards putting more officers on the streets.
“They will get additional resources to pay down these settlements, but unfortunately the public will not see more police services as a result of increased investment in the police department,” he said.
Michael Haddad, the lawyer who has represented Golding’s mother, says he asked the city to formally agree to provide regular training on deadly force to all officers. He claims the city refused.
“They really need to do something to make sure this doesn’t happen anymore – not just to save money, but to save lives,” Haddad said.
Currently, the city is acting on about 1/3 of 73 recommendations that have been submitted by the Fresno Commission on Police Reform.
Arias hopes tragedies like this can become a thing of the past.
“We’re settling use of force cases that could’ve been avoided if the use of force would’ve been changed years ago,” he said.
Arias said the commission is meeting with the city council and the police department tomorrow for the first time ever to discuss reform.