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‘This Is Vindication’: California County to Pay $7.5M to Family of Black Homeless Man Killed In Police Confrontation Over Jaywalking In 2020

The family of a homeless Black man in California who died at the hands of a sheriff’s deputy after reportedly jaywalking will receive a $7.5 million settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit.

Kurt Andras Reinhold was shot and killed on Sept. 23, 2020, by an Oakland County Sheriff’s Department deputy in San Clemente. On Tuesday, May 9, during a closed-session meeting, the OC Board of Supervisors approved the settlement, according to The Orange County Register.

Kurt Andras Reinhold was killed during a confrontation with Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 23, 2020. (Photo: KCAL News/YouTube screenshot)

“We decided to settle because this is a very tragic case and it was an opportunity that both sides agreed would be a fair number to put an end to the fight over this really tragic situation. There is simply no good to come out of this circumstance. We’re very hopeful that this gives the family some closure and we never see anything as horrible as this again,” board chairman Don Wagner said.

The board voted 4-0 for the settlement.

Related:‘No, Don’t, Don’t’: Video Shows NYPD Cop Trying to Stop Partner from Fatally Shooting Black Man After They Mistakenly Barge Into His Apartment As He Cooks Dinner

John Taylor, attorney for the Reinhold family, released a statement once the settlement was made public.

“This is vindication for the Reinhold family,” he said. “There needs to be accountability when deputies use excessive force, and this is a step in that direction. The family hopes that the unnecessary killing of Kurt can impact interaction between homeless outreach deputies and the people that they’re supposed to serve.”

When the deputies approached Reinhold outside the Hotel Miramar at El Camino Real and Avenida San Gabriel, the young man and one of the officers, Duran, got into a scuffle. Sheriff department officials reported that during the melee, Reinhold reached for the deputy’s gun, resulting in his death.

Family members of the 42-year-old argued he did not reach for Duran’s firearm, but rather his arms “incidentally” flailed near the gun during the tussle.

“I think his hand is in that position because he was in a headlock and in the deputy’s stomach and was attempting to push away from the deputy because he was having trouble breathing,” said Neil Gehlawat, another lawyer for the family in 2020.

An investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office proved the man was not jaywalking but still broke the law by crossing during the red hand signal. As a result, deputies were justified in stopping him. They further determined the deputy was justified in shooting because he reached for his gun, thus clearing him of criminal wrongdoing.

Reinhold’s relatives filed a civil lawsuit in December 2020, saying the officers were “ill-equipped to deal with mentally ill subjects and disproportionately targets and detain persons of color in Orange County.”

Reinhold reportedly had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

The district attorney indicated both deputies Eduardo Duran and Jonathan Israel received “homeless liaison officer” training, which included “crisis avoidance” and “dealing with individuals with mental health and drug issues.”

According to the DA’s report, each deputy completed the Anaheim Police Department’s 40-hour crisis intervention training.

This training included “a 60-minute session on dealing with the homeless population” and had a course instructor discuss “the importance of trying to ‘de-escalate’ situations with homeless people in the field, ” according to the Voice of OC. 

The OC Sheriff’s Department has declined to comment on the settlement.

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