Judge Reduces $11.5 Million Award to Mother of Man Killed by St. Paul Police: Battle for Justice Continues

St. Paul, Minnesota – A judge has significantly reduced the $11.5 million judgment awarded to the mother of Cordale Handy, who was killed by St. Paul police in 2017. In a recent decision, Judge David Doty revised the compensatory damages to $2.5 million, down from the original $10 million. This follows a federal jury’s finding of St. Paul Police officer Nathaniel Younce’s civil liability for the shooting death of 29-year-old Handy and its award of $1.5 million in punitive damages to Handy’s mother, Kim Handy Jones.

The jury declined to hold another officer, Mikko Norman, liable in the incident. However, the city contested the jury’s decision and filed a challenge, leading to Judge Doty’s reduced compensatory award. In his written decision, Doty acknowledged that while Handy was a caring and engaged member of his family, his attorneys provided inadequate evidence of quantifiable monetary loss.

Judge Doty granted Handy Jones until March 1 to decide whether to accept the lowered amount or request a new trial regarding compensatory damages. In response to the judge’s decision, Handy Jones expressed her disappointment and emphasized the inadequacy of the revised amount. She stated that “no amount of money will ever replace my son,” questioning the judge’s valuation of a black man’s life.

The City of St. Paul spokesperson, Kamal Baker, released a statement expressing the city’s appreciation for the court’s response and mentioning that they would review the decision before determining the appropriate action moving forward.

The incident occurred on March 15, 2017, when officers Younce and Norman responded to a 911 call reporting a woman screaming inside an apartment in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. Upon arrival, it was determined that Handy had fired 16 shots inside the home. Although Handy did not pose a direct threat, officers claimed that he pointed a gun towards them, prompting them to open fire. Surveillance footage captured Handy holding a gun while walking down the street, but it is unclear whether he was armed at the time of the shooting.

It is essential to note that this incident occurred just before St. Paul police officers began wearing body cameras, resulting in the absence of visual evidence of the events leading to Handy’s death.

In December, the St. Paul City Council approved a $380,000 settlement with Handy’s girlfriend, Markeeta Johnson-Blakney, who had alleged unlawful detention by the police in a lawsuit. The council also held a closed-door session to discuss a $210,000 settlement with Jill Mollner, another witness to the incident who claimed unconstitutional detainment by the police.

The case of Cordale Handy’s death continues to raise questions about police accountability and the valuation of black lives in America. The revised compensatory damages highlight the ongoing debate over the judicial system’s treatment of excessive use of force by law enforcement.