MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The family of Wayne Jones, a black man who was fatally shot 22 times by police, will receive a $3.5 million legal settlement from the city.
Jones was killed by officers from the Martinsburg Police Department in 2013 after being approached for not walking on the sidewalk, violating a municipal ordinance. Three civil rights suits against the city were dismissed until last month when a federal court ruled Jones’ family was entitled to sue.
Paul Taylor, lawyer for the Jones family, says that while justice may have been served, no monetary settlement can compensate for the loss of a beloved family member.
“I think the family’s made a point,” says Taylor. “But nothing can bring Wayne Jones back. Nothing can ease that pain.”
Martinsburg police have been insistent that Jones’ rights were never violated and even got the West Virginia State Police and U.S. Department of Justice to back their claim. Jones’ family has challenged that in the West Virginia Supreme Court, a seperate legal action, on criminal grounds, from the civil settlement reached with the city. At the time Jones was killed, he was 50 and homeless. When confronted by Martinsburg officers he was tasered and put in a chokehold.
“Any amount of money isn’t going to bring that loved one back,” says Sheena Daniel, a Martinsburg resident familiar with the Jones case.
The police have have always maintained they were protected by “qualified immunity,” that since they were acting in the line of duty they could not be held responsible for Jones’ death.
In reaching the settlement, Martinsburg police maintain they are not admitting guilt, but rather seek to avoid the cost of ongoing litigation.