Six years later, the legal battle between Dallas and Kelvion Walker is over. Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to give Walker $610,000, settling an ongoing federal lawsuit over a 2013 shooting.
In December 2013, Dallas Police Department officer Amy Wilburn shot Walker as Walker sat in the passenger seat of a stolen car. According to witnesses, Walker had his hands in the air when he was shot. Walker survived but suffered serious internal injuries.
A grand jury indicted Wilburn for felony aggravated assault by a public servant. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge — unlawfully discharging a firearm — and was sentenced to probation in 2018. At the time of her indictment in 2014, Wilburn was the first Dallas cop indicted for shooting someone in the line of duty in 41 years.
Walker's lawsuit against Wilburn and the city went to trial earlier this year, but the jury hearing the case did not reach a verdict. Rather than retrying the case, Walker and the city agreed to the settlement.
"Mr. Walker has waited too long. Mr. Walker was shot by this officer in 2013," activist Dominique Alexander said at City Hall on Wednesday. "The city has to step up. What we do not need on our taxpayer dollars is for you to continue to pad the pockets of these law firms."
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Walker's lawyer, Geoff Henley, said that he and his client didn't want to risk another trial.
"Any plaintiff and his lawyer always want a higher settlement. That goes without saying," Henley told the Observer. "You have to look at everything that is surrounding the case. In this particular case, we tried it. We got some messages from the jurors, and you have to be mindful about what that means going forward."
Unless Dallas gets hit with a huge verdict that holds up on appeal — not likely considering the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — the city probably will stick to its current tactics and keep paying out comparatively small settlements after protracted legal fights.
According to a recent KTVT investigation, Dallas has spent nearly $10 million on police shooting lawsuit settlements and attorneys fees over the last five years. Several high-profile and potentially expensive lawsuits against the city — including those filed in deaths of Genevive Dawes and Tony Timpa — remain pending.