Little Rock Settles Lawsuit Over 2010 Police Shooting

May 6, 2016

Attorneys for the family of Eugene Ellison speak to reporters at a press conference in this file photo from December, 2014.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Little Rock has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of 67-year-old black man who was fatally shot in 2010 after two off-duty police officers entered his apartment without a warrant.

City Attorney Tom Carpenter told The Associated Press the city settled the lawsuit Friday. Trial was set to begin Monday.

Eugene Ellison died Dec. 9, 2010. His family filed a lawsuit alleging that officers Donna Lesher and Tabitha McCrillis, who are both white, unlawfully entered his home, and that Lesher improperly used deadly force.

Carpenter says the settlement includes about $900,000, a memorial bench and an apology letter that doesn't admit liability.

An attorney for the family says the total $1.5 million settlement in the case marks the largest in Arkansas history for a police shooting. Attorney Mike Laux says that brings the total settlement in the family's lawsuit to more than $1.5 million, when added to the agreement reached in April with the apartment complex where the shooting occurred.

Laux says the apology from the city was more important to Ellison's sons, one of whom is a Little Rock police lieutenant and another who is a former Little Rock police officer.

Neither of the officers, who are both white, was criminally charged. Both remain on the Little Rock police force.

In an emailed statement released Friday, Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore and City Attorney Tom Carpenter said:

Because of the possibility of continued litigation in the court system, all parties decided this resolution was in the best interests of everyone involved. There is no doubt that this incident is a tragedy that has deeply affected many in our City. Today’s agreement allows the community, the families, and the Little Rock Police Department to move forward and begin to heal.

Read more about the Eugene Ellison story from the Washington Post.