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The Law Office of David B. Malik & Associates

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Mother of Boy Killed by Police Gets $1 Million Settlement
The Plain Dealer - Cleveland, Ohio
By Damian G. Guevara, Plain Dealer Reporter
February 9, 2008

The mother of a 16-year-old boy killed by Cleveland police in 2002 settled her wrongful death lawsuit against two Cleveland patrolmen Friday for $1 million.

Harriet Green and her family sued Patrolmen Robert Taylor and Matthew Baeppler in U.S. District Court over the Aug. 27, 2002, shooting death of Ricardo Mason. The lawsuit challenged police training, arrest procedures and how police shootings are investigated.

On Friday, Green told reporters at a news conference that she had achieved justice for her son through the settlement. City officials "know something was done wrong" on the day Ricardo died, she said.

"Officers should protect us, not kill us," Green said.

Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland police union, did not return calls seeking comment.

Law Director Robert Triozzi said city officials continue to believe the officers' versions of how the shooting occurred. "I reject the characterization of sloppiness on the city's part," Triozzi said.

The city decided to settle for $1 million because it did not want to leave the officers exposed to potential personal liability, Triozzi said.

On the day he died, Ricardo was riding in the front passenger seat of a stolen Pontiac Grand Prix driven by then-16-year-old Malcolm Hoyle. Police spotted and pursued the car.

After Hoyle crashed, Taylor and Baeppler parked their cruiser behind the stolen car and approached. Baeppler shot Hoyle in the face. Taylor, who was struck by the reversing auto, fatally shot Ricardo in the back as he fired on Hoyle, Triozzi said.

Green's lawyer, David Malik, claimed in the lawsuit that police negligently moved evidence, including the Grand Prix and the police cruiser. Patrolman Adrian Neagu admitted to moving the police car, but said he did so to make way for an ambulance attempting to save Ricardo, according to court filings.

Evidence about the officer's actions was presented to a Cuyahoga County grand jury, which declined to file charges. The wrongful death case was set to go to trial Friday in U.S. District Court.

Hoyle, the other youth involved in the shooting, recovered and was convicted as an adult of involuntary manslaughter for Ricardo's death. He received probation but was later sent to prison for a year after violating his probation. He has pending drug charges from unrelated cases.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: dguevara@plaind.com, 216-999-4334

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