Family of UC student who died after Taser incident receives $2M in settlement

CINCINNATI - The family of a University of Cincinnati student who died after a Taser was used on him during an incident with campus police was awarded $2 million by the school as part of a settlement.

Everette Howard, Jr., 18, died on Aug. 6, 2011, after a University of Cincinnati police officer fired a Taser at him. The officer, Richard Haas, had said the youth failed to obey a direct order, which led to the use of the Taser.

The Howard family filed a lawsuit last summer against UC and Haas.

After Howard's death, campus police withdrew their use of Tasers as part of their service. The settlement provides that the UC Police Department must notify the public and the Howard family before they resume their use. Officers will also receive suggestions on Taser use based on research conducted by experts in collaboration with the Howard family.

A memorial bench and plaque will also be installed at the site where Howard died. The current president of UC, Santa Ono, issued a statement to the Howard family expressing the "deepest regrets" on the loss of their son.

As the last part of the settlement, the Howards were awarded $2 million by UC who will give a free undergraduate education for Howard's two siblings.

"Everette's death was unjustified and unnecessary. Through this case the family is helping reform Taser use throughout the region. Hopefully their investigation and advocacy for their son will prevent more Taser deaths," said attorney Al Gerhadstein.

Howard graduated from North College Hill High School and was enrolled in UC's Upward Bound program which gives recent graduates a chance to earn college credit.

9 On Your Side contacted UC spokesperson Greg Hand who said, "There remains a great deal of sadness on campus in the wake of Everette Howard's death. With regard to the settlement, the university believes that the settlement reached with the family was amicable." 

Howard's parents spoke exclusively with 9 On Your Side Wednesday after the announcement of the settlement. Travonna and Everette Howard Sr. said any new development is like reliving the experience all over again.

"No amount of money or none of this could replace him, you know. I want him back," said Everette Sr.

When asked how they thought Everette Jr. would feel about the settlement, both Travonna and Everette Sr. said he would be happy to know that his siblings would have an education, since it was something he valued and always put first.

"We're doing a scholarship in his memory and we're doing things and activities to encourage young kids to go to school and I know that's what he would definitely want," said Travonna.

The staff at North College Hill High School and family and friends have remained supportive throughout the ordeal, said the Howards.

"It's sad that people see the number and not everything else, all the good that we achieved with this and through this," said Travonna.

The Howards say they will continue to fight for improved Taser policies and testing of Tasers for their electrical output, which they say is too inconsistent.

"It's bittersweet. It's good for it to be finally over, but we still are fighting for Taser reform. We want that to be in effect," said Everette Sr.

To review complete details of the settlement visit http://www.gbfirm.com/ .

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