By Keith L. Alexander, the Washington Post

Baltimore officials have reached a $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, an agreement they say is the right step for a city still recovering from riots and demonstrations sparked by the 25-year-old’s death from an injury suffered in police custody.

Freddie Grey, who suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody after his arrest on April 12, 2015.

Freddie Grey, who suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody after his arrest on April 12, 2015.

The wrongful death settlement, which requires final approval by a city board, comes as criminal charges are pending against six police officers in Gray’s arrest and death.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stressed that the settlement would not affect the criminal cases, but it would avoid a drawn-out civil case against the city or police.

“This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement…

Gray’s family had not filed a lawsuit in the case, but their attorneys said they intended to once results of investigations by the Justice Department and others were revealed…

Even though the city does not admit liability, political and legal observers said the settlement could ease anger among city residents as the criminal cases head to trial…

Under the proposal, $2.8 million would be paid to Gray’s family this fiscal year and $3.6 million in the fiscal year that begins in July, the city said. The money would come from a specific fund set up to handle civil litigation.

The agreement was reached after weeks of talks between city leaders and attorneys for the Gray family, William H. “Billy” Murphy Jr. and Hassan Murphy. The attorneys, as well as city officials, declined to discuss the settlement Tuesday. They have scheduled separate news conferences for Wednesday…

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