The family of slain teenager Trayvon Martin has reached a settlement in their wrongful death suit again the homeowner’s association of the sub-division where the Martin was gunned down.
Martin was just feet from the home where his father was staying when he was confronted by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. Though the details of what happened next are in dispute, Martin and Zimmerman struggled and Zimmerman used a gun he was carrying to shoot and kill Martin.
Portions of the settlement were released Friday, but it did not specify how much money Trayvon Martin’s family received. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the figure is believed to be in excess of $1 million.
Experts said the settlement does not necessarily reflect a believe that the homeowner’s association is guilty, but rather that it was more economical for it to settle the case.
“When claims are filed, they’re filed against anybody who could possibly have any culpability,” said Robert Taylor, founding partner of Taylor & Carls P.A., a law firm that represents homeowner associations but isn’t working with the Retreat at Twin Lakes.
Taylor told the Orlando Sentinel that Martin family must have concluded that the homeowner’s association had some connection.
“It’s really nothing more than a risk-versus-reward analysis,” Taylor added.
The case captured the national attention when the Sanford Police Department wavered on whether to charge Zimmerman in the case. Zimmerman had claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense under the state’s “stand your ground” law, but critics believed that there were racial motivations in both Zimmerman’s targeting of Martin and the department’s delayed decision in charging him.
Zimmerman was eventually charged with second-degree murder and is now awaiting trial.
The Trayvon Martin settlement stated that George Zimmerman is not part of the agreement. Lawyers representing Martin’s family said they still plan to file a separate civil suit against Zimmerman.