Lawsuit settled in neighbourhood watch killing

The parents of slain black teenager Trayvon Martin have settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the homeowners association of the Florida neighbourhood where he was shot, a local newspaper reports.

Martin, 17, was killed on a rainy night in February 2012 by George Zimmerman, 29, a volunteer night watchman. Zimmerman had followed Martin into a gated community in Sanford, in central Florida, and said he shot the unarmed teen in self-defence following an altercation.

The Orlando Sentinel, citing court documents it saw on Friday, said Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and the homeowner's association had agreed to keep the settlement amount confidential.

However, it cited an interview in February with Zimmerman's lawyer who said an earlier offer of US$1 million had been rejected by Fulton and Martin.

Under the terms of the settlement, the homeowners association did not admit wrongdoing or liability, saying "the monies being paid hereunder is consideration for avoiding litigation, the uncertainties stemming from litigation as well as to protect and secure the good name and good will of the released parties".

Benjamin Crump, who represented Martin's parents, has said he will file a separate lawsuit against Zimmerman.

The killing fuelled widespread outrage that led to rallies around the country. The Martin family claimed that Zimmerman had racially profiled the teen.

Sanford police initially released Zimmerman after the shooting because they said he was acting in accordance with controversial Florida self-defence laws.

Zimmerman was later arrested and faces a second-degree murder charge when his Florida trial begins on June 10. He has pleaded not guilty, and faces life in prison if convicted.

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 31 Jul 2014 10:17:46 Processing Time: 279ms