Family of Kawanza Beaty expects settlement with City of Newport News

Kawanza Jamal Beaty (Family photo)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The family of Kawanza Beaty, who was shot and killed by police in 2015, has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Newport News.

A judge has not yet approved the $6,700 settlement because the parties are still working to determine who will receive it. The money could go to Beaty’s mother or grandmother to reimburse funeral expenses or to a child born after Beaty’s death, according to discussion between attorneys and the judge Friday.

The wrongful death lawsuit was expected to go to trial in February. Family attorney James Ellenson said they needed more facts aside from the commonwealth’s attorney’s report, which found no wrongdoing in Beaty’s shooting.

“We’ve always felt that there must have been other people and we kind of think that there were other people, but…nobody’s willing to come out,” Ellenson said.

Beaty was shot and killed by a Newport News police detective in July 2015. Police said Beaty refused to drop a sawed off shotgun and pointed it at another officer.

Beaty’s family filed a $10 million federal wrongful death lawsuit against Newport News Police in September 2015.

“Money was never the issue here. The issue was justice for my son, not money,” said Beaty’s mother, Melisa Dargan. “It’s emotional. It’s been emotional since I lost my son. That was my first-born. To have my first-born child taken away, and you know someone’s seen it. Someone had to see.”

An attorney for the defense had no comment.