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Billings to pay family $550K for 2014 officer-involved shooting

Posted at 11:30 AM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 13:31:25-04

BILLINGS- The family of a Billings man killed by a Billings police officer will receive a $550,000 settlement from the city.

Attorney Gerry Fagan, who represented the city in the wrongful death case filed by the family of Richard Ramirez, said the settlement was paid through the city’s insurance pool.

The money was released to Ramirez’ estate and family members: father Julio Ramirez, a brother also named Julio Ramirez, and another relative, Richard Jordan Ramirez.

Ramirez was shot and killed in April 2014 by Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison following a traffic stop.

Ramirez was digging into his pocket to remove drugs and ignored several commands from Morrison to put up his hands before the officer fired.

Ramirez was unarmed, and a coroner’s jury ruled the homicide was justified.

In a statement, Fagan said the city maintains that Morrison acted reasonably but agreed to settle to avoid the costs of a jury trial.

A settlement was announced Feb. 28, less than a week before a trial was scheduled to start.

The family of Ramirez filed suit against Morrison, the city of Billings and Police Chief Rich St. John in 2016, saying Ramirez’s rights were violated.

At the time, Morrison said he feared for his life that day and initially believed Ramirez had a gun.  A toxicology report showed Ramirez had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the shooting.

An attorney for the family, J.R. Casillas, had previously said he wanted to continue to trial, but the family wanted closure.