Kurt Andras Reinhold’s family said that Orange County’s homeless outreach team wasn’t set up to help people who were mentally ill and that it targeted people of color more often than white people.
A California county has decided to pay the family of a homeless Black man who was killed by a deputy almost three years ago $7.5 million.
The Mercury News says that Kurt Andras Reinhold died on Sept. 23, 2020, after he talked to two officers from the homeless outreach team of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities said that Reinhold, who was 42 years old, was shot when he reached for one of the deputy’s guns during a fight. He had been stopped because he was suspected of jaywalking.
Prosecutors said that their investigation showed that Reinhold did not jaywalk, but instead broke a traffic law by crossing the street when the light was red, which is why cops went to talk to him.
“This is vindication for the Reinhold family,” family lawyer John Taylor told The Mercury News about the deal. “When deputies use too much force, there need to be consequences, and this is a step in that direction.”
In the civil case for wrongful death, Reinhold’s family said that the homeless outreach team in Orange County unfairly picks on and holds people of color and doesn’t have the training to deal with people who are mentally ill. They also said that Reinhold’s arms were moving and that a deputy’s gun was “accidentally” close by.
Taylor also said that Reinhold’s family hopes that his senseless death will change how homeless outreach police help the people they are there to help.
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In February, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office told the public that the shooting was legal and that the deputy did nothing wrong.
Don Wagner, the chairman of the OC Board of Supervisors, said that the settlement decision, which was made on May 9 and passed in a closed session, was made because of a tragic case. He also said that it was a chance that everyone agreed would be a fair number to end the years-long dispute.
“There’s just no good that can come out of this,” he said, according to The Mercury News. “We really hope that this brings closure to the family and that nothing as terrible as this ever happens again.”
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