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Albany Common Council approves bonds for settlement in wrongful death lawsuit

May 16, 2018 11:55 PM

UPDATE:

The City of Albany will pay Dontay Ivy's family $625,000 to settle the wrongful death lawsuit filed back in 2015.

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Ivy, who had schizophrenia, became combative with officers who confronted him in April of 2015. Police used a Taser on him and he died in custody.

In September Ivy's family filed the lawsuit against the city.

A month later, the officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury, sparking outrage from some in the community.

Most everyone who spoke at the Common Council meeting on Wednesday said there's no amount of money that will make up for the loss of Dontay Ivy's life. Though the resolution for bonding passed, not everyone was on board.

"Where is the justice when no one is being held accountable?” Ivy’s sister Aniesha Johnson said.

Johnson said the settlement won't bring her brother back.

"There's no price on someone's life but for me it was sort of an insult,” Johnson said.

Ivy's cousin, 2nd Ward Councilman Derek Johnson, voted no.

"Just the way things were introduced to me the language that was used was really bothersome,” Johnson said. “And that’s something that can never come back.”

Johnson said three years later, he and his family still don't feel any closure.

"Regardless of what was accomplished today it's never going to bring back a family member that will be missed truly missed,” he said. 

Although Ivy's death has been reported on for years, Johnson said he doesn't think most people have any idea how great a man he truly was.

"He was a college graduate, he was a heck of an athlete and if you talk to people that knew him he was one of the kindest people that you could meet,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he's had positive conversations with leaders in the Albany Police Department about moving forward.

"I'm just happy to see and hear the conversations that are happening as a result of Dontay and I think that I can take my hat off to the people that are involved to try and assure that it won't happen to someone else,” he said.

A representative for Mayor Sheehan said her office doesn't need Common Council's approval to settle with Ivy's family, which reportedly has already been done. The representative explained that Wednesday’s vote to allow bonding to cover the cost of the settlement prevented the city from taking budget actions that would have negatively impacted city workers and residents.

A representative for Capital Region Against Mass Incarceration said they will continue to use a variety of tactics to hold the Albany Police Department accountable for racial profiling.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Albany Common Council voted Wednesday night to issue a $625,000 settlement reached in the wrongful death lawsuit of Dontay Ivy.

Police confronted him back in 2015. Ivy was schizophrenic and didn't like to be touched. He became combative, officers used a Taser on him and he later died. No charges were ever filed.

The money is ultimately coming from the taxpayers in the city of Albany.

The vote was on a resolution that would issue the Ivy family $625,000 in serial bonds. The serial bonds would then be bundled with other bonds for things like firetrucks or police cars, which would then be purchased by investors and the city would repay them with interest. That money would come from the City of Albany's budget.

The Ivy family initially filed a wrongful death lawsuit for millions of dollars. There have been several protests calling for justice for Ivy. One took place during the middle of Mayor Sheehan's State of the City address earlier this year.

Mayor Sheehan issued a statement on Tuesday, asking the Common Council to act swiftly in approving the bond ordinance. The Ivy family and community continue to heal from the events surrounding his tragic death.

NewsChannel 13 will have reaction from the meeting on WNYT.com, our 10 p.m. show on My 4 and NewsChannel 13 Live at 11.

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WNYT Staff

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