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Council votes to settle lawsuits in police beating death

February 25, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ The City Council agreed to pay $3.35 million to settle lawsuits filed by four policemen who were suspended after a man was beaten to death by officers.

The four were punished after the Nov. 5, 1992, death of Malice Green, a black man beaten to death with flashlights by white police officers who said he struggled when they tried to arrest him on suspicion of carrying drugs.

Two officers now in prison are appealing murder convictions and a third was acquitted of an assault charge.

Of the four involved in the settlement, only one faced a criminal charge _ involuntary manslaughter, which was dropped.

All four were suspended without pay and without a hearing after Green’s death, and were ultimately reinstated.

The council voted Monday to give Officers Karl Gunther and Paul Gotelaere $1 million each, $959,000 to Officer James Kijek and $350,000 to Sgt. Freddie Douglas to settle lawsuits filed in state court, the Detroit Free Press reported.

City attorneys advised that continuing to fight the lawsuits would cost the council more money.

The four also sued the city in federal court. The city is appealing a $3 million judgment awarded to Gunther, Kijek and Gotelaere in 1995. Douglas’ federal lawsuit, alleging denial of due process and discrimination, has not yet been tried.

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