Zion Carr, who witnessed his aunt Atatiana Jefferson’s fatal shooting by police in 2019, will receive a $3.5 million settlement from Fort Worth, according to city officials.
Zion, who was eight years old at the time, was playing video games at Jefferson’s house when an officer shot and killed the 28-year-old while responding to a call for a welfare check.
According to a federal lawsuit filed by Zion’s mother, Amber Carr, in 2021, he suffered from “anxiety, terror, and agony” from witnessing his aunt’s death, NBC News reports.
The lawsuit claimed that Zion suffered from “severe and extreme mental and emotional distress” and attributed his trauma to the city. Just two years after the lawsuit was filed, Carr, Jefferson’s sister, passed away from congestive heart failure.
The city announced earlier this month that it had proposed a $3.5 million settlement. The Fort Worth City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the payment.
“I for one, am excited about this opportunity to make sure that he can go to college and do things that his mother and his aunt wanted him to do as they were raising him,” Councilman Chris Nettles said, thanking Mayor Mattie Parker and the council for their efforts to get the settlement approved.
According to NBC News, Parker said the payment was “the right thing to do” in a November 2nd statement. “I hope this can bring a degree of reconciliation and healing for Atatiana Jefferson’s loved ones,” she said.
The $3.5 million settlement will be distributed in various ways to support Zion. The funds will cover living expenses, contribute to a college savings plan, and include scheduled payments to Zion until he reaches the age of 40.
“The city as well as his family were totally on board with each other in providing an amount that would take care of him through 18, making sure that he was able to go to college, make sure that he was incentivized to go to college, and making sure that he was taken care of for a longer period of time,” she said, said Deputy City Attorney Laetitia Coleman Brown.
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