- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The sons of a man who was shot to death by two off duty Little Rock police officers say a $1.5 million settlement of their lawsuit over his death is about accountability.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/1ZrDJYR ) that Spencer Ellison and Troy Ellison on Saturday thanked their attorneys and encouraged supporters to fight police brutality.

“This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face, but I give credit to God for giving me the strength to stand strong and fight for justice for my father’s untimely death,” said Spencer Ellison, a former Little Rock officer. “As wounds begin to heal, I pray that this moment has shed some light on the community and that it will improve relationships with police.”

Ellison’s father, 67-year-old Eugene Ellison, was shot and killed after struggling with two off-duty officers who entered Ellison’s apartment.

Little Rock will pay $900,000 and formally apologize and the family agreed to an undisclosed amount with the apartment complex where the officers were working as security guards when the shooting occurred, but attorneys said the total settlement is for about $1.5 million.

“We never thought it would happen, but to go as far as dedicating a bench, it gives my father the respect we always had for him,” Troy Ellison, a Little Rock police lieutenant said. “The past 24 hours have been pretty surreal. I’ve gone through a variety of emotions from happiness to relief to anxiety, and still some sadness, but I finally get to go home to my family.”

Eugene Ellison was shot and killed Dec 9, 2010, when Officer Donna Lesher and Detective Tabitha McCrillis, working as private security guards at the apartment complex, entered Ellison’s apartment because they said they saw through an open door that it was in disarray and, after a struggle, Lesher said she opened fire because she thought Ellison was reaching for a cane that could have been used to strike her after Ellison refused commands to lie down.

Prosecutors declined to press charges, saying the officers’ attempts to use non-lethal means to subdue Ellison had failed. Both officers are still with the Little Rock police department.

City Attorney Tom Carpenter said the cost of continuing the litigation - and for the litigation over the past five years - would have been more than the settlement amount reached.

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