The insurance carrier for the city of Roanoke Rapids settled with a man who is awaiting a superior court date later this month following a 2019 chase in which he was shot by Roanoke Rapids police Chief Bobby Martin.
The city released the settlement document to rrspin in response to a public records request concerning the outcome of the case involving Darius M. Carter in December of 2019. The settlement was for $90,000.
Carter, according to the state court calendar, has a March 27 Halifax County Superior Court date on charges of felony fleeing to elude arrest, reckless driving to endanger, and assault on a government official. He has an April 10 superior court date in Halifax County on a charge of a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
City Attorney Geoffrey Davis said, “There is absolutely no connection between the December 2019 incident and the settlement of this lawsuit on the one hand and Chief Martin’s current administrative suspension on the other.”
On Friday Martin and Captain Jamie Hardy were placed on unpaid administrative leave after a decision by City Manager Kelly Traynham for reasons which are currently protected under state personnel statutes.
Davis said the settlement was negotiated by the city’s insurance carrier and was paid for by them. “Only $5,000 of taxpayer funds were expended relative to this incident, and that was for our insurance deductible,” he said. “The city would have to pay this $5,000 deductible whether or not the matter was settled, as the costs of defending the suit would have far exceeded $5,000 in any event.”
Traynham signed the settlement document on December 6 of last year; the claims attorney on December 16 of last year; and Carter on January 13.
The general release and settlement agreement notes that the terms were entered into by and between the city, Carter, and U.S. Specialty Insurance Company and was in the sum of $90,000, according to the document.
“This agreement is in settlement of that certain action styled as Darius M. Carter v. Bobby L. Martin, Jr., individually and in his official capacity as chief of police, and (the) city of Roanoke Rapids … and the parties hereby covenant and agree to settle all claims between them …”
Carter initiated the action in superior court on April 29 of last year – an action stemming from December 20, 2019, in which Carter sustained a gunshot wound to his right elbow during a police chase which ended in the 1500 block of South Monroe Street.
Carter claimed in the lawsuit that the city acted contrary to the laws of North Carolina while the city denied any liability to Carter in the matter. “Whereas (the) plaintiff and defendants wish to avoid protracted litigation and resolve all matters between them … the defendant city through its insurance provider, U.S. Specialty Insurance Company, will cause to be paid the sum of … $90,000 to (the) plaintiff, Darius M. Carter, in return for a general release of any and all claims made or which could have been made arising from the aforementioned incident or occurrence and hereby releases the city of Roanoke Rapids, Bobby L. Martin, Jr., individually and in his official capacity as chief of police, and U.S. Specialty Insurance Company, their agents, successors and assigns from any and all liability in this matter.”
For his part in the case, Carter released, acquitted, “and/or forever” discharged the city, Martin and its insurance carrier “from any and all claims, demands, costs, expenses, loss of services, past, present, and future actions, and causes of action of any nature whatsoever, on account of all claims and/or damages of any kind, whether based in contract, tort, statute, or entity related to the incident or occurrence of December 20, 2019.”
Roanoke Rapids police charged Carter of Warrenton on three counts related to the December 20 chase. He was charged on the day of the offense.
The assault charge reflects Carter reputedly tried to run over Martin.
According to the arrest warrant filed in the chase, former Roanoke Rapids narcotics Sergeant Chris Babb wrote there was probable cause to believe that on the morning of the chase, Carter “willfully and feloniously” operated a motor vehicle on Highway 125 and East Tenth Street as well as Highway 48 “while fleeing and attempting to elude (Babb)” while the sergeant was in the lawful performance of his duties.
Babb was attempting to arrest Carter on an outstanding order and at the time the man was “speeding in excess of 15 miles per hour over the legal speed limit, driving recklessly leading to an accident causing property damage in excess of $1,000 and personal injury.”
Part of the chase occurred in a school zone during the “hours when the posted speed limit was in effect.”