Baltimore’s Board of Estimates is set to vote Wednesday on a $145,000 settlement with the family of a man fatally shot by police in 2012.
The wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of George B. Wells III was settled in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Dec. 24, according to online court records.
The incident began when police responded to a call for domestic violence on Brookfield Avenue on March 31, 2012. They were met by a woman who said the suspect, Wells, had fled the scene, according to a memorandum provided to the city spending panel, which provided this account:
The alleged victim gave a description and, when an officer canvassing the neighborhood saw a man whom he believed to be Wells, despite a slight difference in clothing, he spoke with him and was told Wells had just run down an alley.
When the officer attempted to confirm the description of Wells, he learned Wells was wearing layers and could have changed clothing. The officer saw the same man he had spoken to earlier and blocked his path to speak to him.
The man, who police later confirmed was Wells, had his hands in his pockets and did not remove them when ordered but began looking around and backing away.
The officer grabbed Wells to stop him from running and Wells pulled out a knife and raised it, causing the officer to pull out his weapon and shoot Wells, the memo stated.
Wells’ family lawsuit denies Wells was carrying a knife. It also claims Wells was 20-to-25 feet from the officer when he was shot.
“The force directed against [Wells] was unnecessary, excessive, and unreasonable,” the complaint states.
Wells was transported to Shock Trauma where he was pronounced dead.
The lawsuit also claims police had no warrant for Wells’ arrest or probable cause to detain him.
The Board of Estimates memorandum says the proposed settlement is due to “conflicting factual issues, fatal injuries, and… the uncertainties and unpredictability of jury verdicts.”
Wells’ estate and surviving family are represented by Anton L. Iamele of Iamele & Iamele LLP in Baltimore and Kim Parker, a Baltimore solo practitioner.
Iamele was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The case is Litta Wells, et al., vs Jethro Estavien, 24C14006556.