- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - A jury on Friday awarded $30,000 in damages each to 10 children who witnessed police officers shoot and kill an unarmed black man at a day care, and a total of $60,000 to two workers, but didn’t award any damages to the owners of the facility.

The $360,000 in damages for emotional distress was well below the $4 million the Kingdom Authority International Ministries Church sought in the lawsuit after Mark Anthony Barmore was killed in 2009. The jury found the officers acted recklessly and inflicted emotional distress, but found the emotional distress was not intentionally inflicted and that none of the plaintiffs were held by police against their will.

Barmore, who was wanted on a theft warrant, fled from police into the church and tried to hide in a boiler room, where he was shot. Authorities found the shooting justified. However, Barmore’s estate filed a lawsuit and the city of Rockford reached a $1.1 million settlement.

The Rev. Melvin Brown and his daughter Marissa, who own the church and day care, were not awarded compensation. Melvin Brown said the all-white jury had little sympathy for the victims.

“We knew something like that would come in because of an all-white jury,” Brown told the Rockford Register Star (https://bit.ly/1XT6cWA ). “We knew they wasn’t going to be compassionate enough in this situation. They figured out the police did wrong … and yet $30,000 is all they give these kids for their suffering.”

Beatrice Smith, a former day care who testified she could no longer work at the church even though she loved her job and working with the children, was awarded $45,000.

The jury awarded $15,000 to Sheila Floyd-Brown, the day care director, but also found her to be 40 percent liable for what happened. Although she testified that Barmore pushed past her into the church and day care as she was exiting, the city challenged her version of what happened and said she failed to lock the door that Barmore entered.

Assistant City Attorney Kerry Partridge said it will be up to the City Council on whether to appeal.

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, https://www.rrstar.com

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