St. Paul pays $1.3m settlement to Golden family

Members of Marcus Golden’s family and CUAPB speak at a January 19 press conference.
Photo by Cole Miska

The family of Marcus Golden held a press conference at Rondo Public Library on Thursday afternoon, January 19, following the St. Paul City Council’s vote to approve a $1.3 million settlement over the 2015 slaying of Golden by St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) officers.

Golden was fatally shot in the back of the head while in his vehicle on Jan. 14, 2015, by officers Dan Peck and Jeremy Doverspike. SPPD claims Golden drove towards the officers at a high speed, but Golden’s family and activists dispute this claim, saying Golden was attempting to leave the scene and drove past officers. 

Officers also claimed that Golden discharged a firearm during the encounter, but the autopsy failed to find any gunpowder or other evidence that would indicate Golden had fired a gun.

The conference was cohosted by Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB). CUAPB had been working on an independent investigation into Golden’s killing for two years and has released a report alleging SPPD’s initial claims were factually incorrect and part of a cover-up.

“I don’t believe that you give a family $1.3 million and think that nothing happened,” Michelle Gross, president of CUAPB, said. “They knew that their officers were subject to being prosecuted in civil court for murder. They knew it. They were scared of it.”

Along with the financial settlement compensation, a bench and plaque will be set up as a memorial for Golden in Como Park, and a member of the Golden family will be placed on St. Paul’s Neighborhood Safety and Community Council. 

While St. Paul City Council approved the settlement, neither the City or SPPD have admitted to any wrongdoing.

Golden’s mother, Ericka Cullars-Golden, and his grandmother each reached separate settlements for their treatment by SPPD following the killing. Cullars-Golden, who worked as a reservist officer for SPPD for 20 years, was forcibly committed to a psych ward by SPPD shortly after Golden’s death. 

Cullars-Golden’s family maintains the committal was done with hostile intent, and that a doctor at the ward did not find Cullars-Golden to have any mental health issues.

The Golden family’s lawyers, Kevin O’Connor and Paul Bosman, said the case set a new precedent in Minnesota. The case had passed the three-year statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim, but Bosman was able to convince a judge to allow the suit to commence as a claim for death caused by an intentional act constituting murder.

O’Connor said he only knew of three times that the intentional act constituting murder complaint had been used.

Golden’s aunt, Monique Cullars-Doty, called for renewed pressure to reopen investigations into all cases where SPPD has killed a civilian, citing the new precedent. ​

Cullars-Golden said she is still a “shattered person” eight years after her son’s death.

“My son was a beautiful son,” Cullars-Golden said. “He was a good son. He was loved by everyone. He was no thug. He was a good son, person, human being. He had everything to live for. He should be here today, living the best life he could live. He should be here for my birthday tomorrow, but he won’t be. My son was murdered.”

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