- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The mother of a black man who was shot and killed by police while holding a samurai sword gave notice Wednesday that she’ll appeal a judge’s order forcing her to accept a $900,000 settlement in a lawsuit over his death.

Susan Hunt first told her lawyer that she would accept the settlement but then publicly rejected it. Hunt’s new lawyers contend that her previous attorney wrongly authorized the deal with the city of Saratoga Springs. They also asked U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell to reconsider her decision in court documents.

Hunt said she rejected the offer because she thought it would bar her from talking publicly about her son Darrien Hunt, 22.

Police shot Darrien Hunt while he was walking around a busy shopping area with a metal costume samurai sword in 2014 in Saratoga Springs, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City.

The county attorney found the shooting was justified because the officers feared he could hurt people with the sword. The family said Darrien Hunt was no danger and was treated differently because he was black. The officers involved are white. The NAACP has called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate how the city handled the case.

Saratoga Springs city officials say Susan Hunt misunderstood the settlement. Its so-called non-disparagement clause was standard and would have allowed her to talk about her son as long as she didn’t attack the city, Saratoga Springs attorney Heather White has said.

But her lawyers said the language of the clause was extreme, and it was added after the city saw Susan Hunt posting critical remarks on social media.

Recorded phone conversations unsealed by the judge seem to indicate Susan Hunt reluctantly agreed to the settlement amount and the non-disparagement clause in August. But she stopped communicating with Robert Sykes and eventually fired him after the two sides began negotiating the language of a news release. Sykes contends he handled the case properly.

City officials said they didn’t know the status of case until Susan Hunt told reporters she was refusing a settlement offer at an event recognizing the anniversary of her son’s death.

White said Wednesday that the city believes the ruling will stand.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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