Court asked to enforce $3M deal in police shooting lawsuit

Dec 27, 2022, 9:39 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2022, 3:17 pm
FILE - A person places a candle near a memorial for Donovon Lynch during a vigil on Tuesday, March ...

FILE - A person places a candle near a memorial for Donovon Lynch during a vigil on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Virginia Beach, Va. The city of Virginia Beach will pay $3 million to settle a lawsuit from the family of Donovon Lynch, a Black man who was shot by police during a chaotic night of violence on the city’s oceanfront last year. (Kaitlin McKeown/The Virginian-Pilot via AP, File)

(Kaitlin McKeown/The Virginian-Pilot via AP, File)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Several parties to a wrongful death lawsuit over the fatal police shooting of a Black man on the Virginia Beach oceanfront last year have asked a judge to enforce the $3 million settlement agreement announced earlier this month.

The city of Virginia Beach and the family of Donovon Lynch — a cousin of musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams — announced the settlement agreement Dec. 13. But Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, has since told local news outlets that he has parted ways with his attorneys and that the settlement isn’t finalized.

Last week, several parties to the matter filed a joint motion asking a judge to enforce the announced deal.

The joint motion was filed by Thomas Martin and Justin Fairfax, who have served as attorneys for Wayne Lynch, as well as attorneys for the city and the officer who shot Donovon Lynch.

The motion says that an outside party advised Wayne Lynch not to sign the agreement, “which is against the interests of the Estate and contrary to Plaintiff’s prior agreement.”

Court records show that the motion was referred to a judge on Tuesday.

Efforts by The Associated Press to reach Wayne Lynch weren’t immediately successful. But Lynch wrote in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the settlement had not been finalized, TV station WVEC-TV reported.

“I regret that it was publicly disclosed before all non-monetary terms were finalized,” Lynch’s statement said.

He also wrote that Fairfax, a former lieutenant governor, and Martin were no longer representing him. On Wednesday, he filed a motion to substitute Fairfax and Martin with a new attorney, court records show.

Lauren Burke, a spokesperson for Fairfax, said in a statement provided to the AP Wednesday that Fairfax and Martin remain “the attorneys of record in this case.”

“Justin E. Fairfax and Thomas B. Martin have been honored to secure a $3M settlement in the death of Wayne Lynch’s son Donovon Lynch,” the statement said. “This historic settlement for the Lynch family will soon be completely settled in Virginia federal court.”

A spokesperson for the city declined to comment.

Wayne Lynch filed the $50 million wrongful death lawsuit in June 2021 against the city and Solomon D. Simmons, the police officer who shot his son. Simmons is also Black.

Lynch’s shooting occurred on a warm March night near the city’s crowded boardwalk, which is lined with restaurants and hotels. The evening dissolved into chaos after separate outbreaks of gunfire. At least eight people were wounded, and one woman, who was believed to be a bystander, was killed.

In November 2021, a special grand jury found that Simmons was justified in shooting Lynch. Authorities said Lynch had a gun and racked a round into the chamber before pointing his weapon toward a parking lot filled with people and police.

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Court asked to enforce $3M deal in police shooting lawsuit