City Approves Settlement With Family Of Teen Killed By Tallahassee Police

May 11, 2016

Ayouna McClinton, David Frank, and Gariah Jones sit together at a press conference (2014).
Credit Nick Evans / WFSU News

The city of Tallahassee will pay $325,000 to the family of an 18-year-old killed by police in 2014. The settlement was approved in a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Scott Maddox and Gil Ziffer voted against the plan to settle with the family of Duane Strong.

He was killed two years ago by Tallahassee Police officers who responded to a report of gunshots at a local nightclub. According to previous reports, officers were trying to talk to Strong when he drove off, hit a parked car and almost hit a police officer. He was not involved with the shooting.

In a release, the city of Tallahassee describes conflicting accounts of the incident.

"The Plaintiff alleged that as Duane Strong drove his vehicle through the parking lot of Cheeks Nightclub, the officer stepped in front of it, ordered him to stop and thus created a dangerous situation. Witness testimony supported the allegation that the officer continued to use deadly force after the moving vehicle was no longer a threat. There was also witness testimony that Strong was driving recklessly through the Cheeks Nightclub parking lot and unexpectedly accelerated rapidly toward the officer. The officer testified he feared for his life."

The city’s attorney along with a lawyer for Strong’s mother announced the settlement in a joint statement.

"Both the City of Tallahassee and Ms. McClinton (the settling parties) firmly believe the terms of this settlement are in the best interest all of the parties to the lawsuit, the officers involved in the incident, the Tallahassee Police Department, the family of Duane Strong and the entire Tallahassee community", said City Attorney Lewis Shelley and Mutaqee Akbar, attorney for the Estate of Duane Strong.