Settlement reached in wrongful death suit of teen killed by New Bedford Police

The family of a teen shot and killed by New Bedford Police in 2012 has reached a settlement with the city.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) – The family of a teen shot and killed by New Bedford Police in 2012 has reached a settlement with the city.

The family of Malcolm Gracia will receive $500,000 from the city after filing a wrongful death lawsuit in 2015.

15-year-old Gracia was shot three times in the back and once in the head by police on Cedar Street on May 17, 2012. Detectives with the department’s gang unit stopped a group of teens on the sidewalk near Temple Landing after seeing on surveillance video an exchange they interpreted as a gang handshake.

Police said once they approached the teens, Gracia took out a hunting knife and stabbed Detective Tyson Barnes, and tried to subdue the 15-year-old with a taser.

When he wouldn’t put down the knife, police said, the shooting ensued, and Gracia was killed.

The shooting was later deemed justified by former District Attorney Sam Sutter, and the officers involved were never criminally charged.

In 2015 Gracia’s sister, Christina Gracia, filed a civil suit against the city and the police officers for her brother’s death, and last May a Superior Court judge said the stop on Cedar Street was unlawful.

“I’m doing this for all the children that have been labeled. I’m doing this to get my brother’s story out,” said Christina Gracia outside of court Tuesday.

A jury trial was set to start on Monday but was canceled as the city and the family had come to a settlement.

A Superior Court judge on Tuesday approved the settlement, lifting the confidentiality agreement, allowing the family to speak about the case.

“(Christina) settled for the opportunity to get all the evidence and to present this evidence to the community, a community that deserves the truth about what happened to one of its own members,” said Gracia’s attorney Donald Brisson.

In a statement Tuesday, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said there is no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement, and the family will be paid through the city’s insurance policy.

“Under the terms of the settlement agreement, there is no admission of wrongdoing with the City or any police officers,” said the Mayor’s spokesman Jonathan Carvalho.

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