DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - Northern Illinois University has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by its former campus police chief for more than $1 million.
Donald Grady sued the university after he was fired in 2013 for his department’s alleged misconduct in a rape case. His dismissal letter alleged he “ordered, encouraged and/or condoned” the withholding of evidence that could have cleared an NIU officer accused of sexually assaulting a student.
Grady denied the allegations and filed a lawsuit the next year, alleging racial discrimination and violation of due process rights.
The university’s board of trustees approved the settlement on Thursday. Under the agreement, Grady - who also was police chief when a former student fatally shot five students on campus in 2008 - will be reinstated to his job but immediately resign and allowed to retire “in good standing.”
“University officials and Dr. Grady have determined that it is in their best interests to move past their differences,” NIU said in a statement.
The lawsuit was scheduled for trial next month.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber denied NIU’s request to dismiss the case last year, saying the university failed to lay out its full case against Grady until after it already had rendered a final decision.
“Compounding that problem is the fact that Grady did not receive a post-termination hearing, which NIU was required to provide under law,” Leinenweber said.
Grady, who is black, was police chief for more than a decade. He was chief when a former student fatally shot five students and injured 21 other people before killing himself on Feb. 14, 2008. Grady, a former track star, ran nearly a quarter mile from his office to the scene after the first reports of the shooting came into his office.
Grady had a year left on his contract when he was fired and drew a salary of about $206,000. State records show his annual pension is about $90,300.
Under the lawsuit settlement, Grady will receive $450,000, while his attorney, Michael R. Fox, will receive $575,000 by Jan. 10. NIU’s insurance carrier will pay $1 million of the settlement, while the university will pay $25,000, both sides said.
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