North Carolina city settles lawsuit involving drug arrests

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Officials in North Carolina’s capital city have agreed to a $2 million settlement in a federal lawsuit that alleged more than a dozen Black men were wrongfully arrested and jailed on drug charges.

The civil rights lawsuit filed in April sought policy changes and actual and punitive damages from the city of Raleigh, a city police officer and seven of his co-workers, including a sergeant and a lieutenant, news outlets reported. Attorneys for the plaintiffs announced the settlement in a news release late Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Raleigh Police Department referred questions on the settlement to city officials, who didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The lawsuit alleges that an informant and the officer conspired to target Black men for arrest. Some of the 13 men who were plaintiffs spent as long as five months in jail before their charges were dropped; some lost jobs and were separated from their children because of the wrongful arrests, the lawsuit says.

In late August, a Wake County grand jury indicted the criminal informant on five counts of obstruction of justice. Charging documents accuse him of making false statements and turning over fake drug evidence.

Each client will receive an individualized settlement, said Abraham Rubert-Schewel, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. But he declined to give any specifics about the range each person would receive or how much will go to attorneys.

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