BILLINGS – The civil suit filed by the family of a man shot and killed by a Billings police officer in 2014 has been settled out of court.
Richard Ramirez was shot by officer Grant Morrison during a traffic stop five years ago. A coroners inquest held the next year determined Morrison was justified in shooting Ramirez.
The case was scheduled for a jury trial on March 4, but the case was settled out of court earlier this week.
While the terms have not been released, the family’s attorney tells Q2 that there was a financial settlement reached.
Attorney J.R. Casillas said he would have liked to see the case go to trial, but the family felt it was time for closure.
Assistant City Administrator Kevin Iffland confirmed the tentative settlement agreement but declined to provide detailed information until more signatures are obtained.
The city will pay an undisclosed amount of money to the Ramirez family, and the city factored the cost of the civil case moving forward and agreed to the deal, Iffland said.
Settlement terms will likely be released next week, he said.
Asked if the city was pleased with the case being settled Iffland said, “the city stands by the coroner’s inquest verdict.” That verdict was that the shooting of Ramirez by Morrison was a noncriminal, justifiable homicide.
Morrison remains on the Billings Police force.
The family of Ramirez filed suit against Morrison, the city of Billings and Police Chief Rich St. John in 2016, saying Ramirez’s rights were violated.
At the time, Morrison said he feared for his life that day and initially believed Ramirez had a gun. A toxicology report showed Ramirez had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the shooting.