Montgomery County commissioners authorized the payment of the settlement at their meeting Tuesday. The settlement closes the Martin case “without any admission of fault on behalf of Montgomery County, the Sheriff’s Office, or the deputies involved,” the county said.
Martin’s family filed a lawsuit against the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in 2017 after a grand jury declined to indict the two deputies involved.
“The family is relieved its over,” said Michael Wright, the attorney for Martin’s family. “But they are still grieving. I don’t think any amount of money can fill that void.”
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Martin, 34, was a father of six and engaged.
Wright said he and Martin’s family are disappointed that the deputies involved were not held criminally responsible for their actions.
There was no audio or video recording of the incident because neither deputy involved, Gust Teague and Joshua Haas, turned on their sirens or lights.
Teague and Haas are both still employed by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Martin crashed his car in Harrison Twp. on July 23, 2015.
Teague and Haas said that when they approached Martin’s vehicle, he was holding a loaded handgun and ignored repeated commands to drop the weapon.
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Wright said that was not the case, a point he said his legal team and experts could show.
“I think they’re lying,” Wright said of the deputies.
Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said there were two investigations into the incident and that neither found proof of wrongdoing by the deputies.
“There is no proof, nothing that indicated what our deputies did was wrong,” said Streck. “The decision to settle was not based on a fear of losing the trial, but based on the economics for the taxpayers.”
The deputies said Martin brandished a firearm, but Wright said that wasn’t possible based on the position his body was in when he was shot. Martin was shot in the head and from behind, Wright said.
“Our experts basically proved (Martin) was unconscious when he was shot,” Wright said.
MORE: Deputies shot Dontae Martin 13 times
Martin had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.388, according to the autopsy. In Ohio it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or above.
The county on Tuesday authorized a payment of $488,522 to Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman and Goggins law firm. The remainder of the settlement comes from the county’s insurance.
“We know how difficult this case has been for all those involved. Montgomery County believed it was in the best interest of the community and our taxpayers to settle this case instead of proceeding with a lengthy trial,” said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert.