COLUMBUS, Miss. — A former Columbus police officer has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city for an undisclosed amount of money.
The Dispatch reports U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock dismissed the case Wednesday involving Canyon Boykin.
Boykin was fired shortly after the Oct. 16, 2015, incident when he shot and killed Ricky Ball following a traffic stop. Ball, a passenger in the stopped vehicle, had fled the scene. Police later found a 9 mm handgun near Ball’s body.
The City Council said Boykin violated policy because he failed to activate his body camera before or during the incident and made inappropriate social media posts in its aftermath. Also, Boykin’s then-girlfriend was an unauthorized passenger in the patrol car the night of the shooting.
Boykin then sued for wrongful termination, claiming he shot Ball in self-defense.
Jeff Reynolds, Boykin’s attorney, said the settlement was finalized Wednesday.
City Attorney Jeff Turnage said the settlement will be paid through Columbus’ employer’s practices policy with its insurance company, Travelers Insurance.
Turnage said the city had entered a motion for summary judgment, which asked the judge to rule on the case, rather than a jury.
Boykin’s case was set to go to trial Sept. 25. Turnage said a final pre-trial conference was set for Sept. 8, until Aycock abruptly canceled it the day before.
“On the one hand, we thought it was possible the district judge was going to grant our motion for summary judgment,” Turnage said. “On the other hand, we were afraid the district judge might grant a continuance. The insurance company thought a continuance would be bad for the status of the case. They thought with the criminal case pending, the civil case had less value.”
Turnage also said the continuance may have sparked concern on Boykin’s side that Aycock might have moved to grant the summary judgment motion, so the sides began to talk.
“When everyone gets nervous about how their case might turn out, they usually come to the table and negotiate,” he said.
Boykin is also a defendant in a wrongful death suit in federal court filed by the Ball estate. He also has been charged in criminal court with manslaughter and is scheduled to face trial in Walthall County next month.
“I think he’s generally pleased to have closed one of the chapters in this ordeal that he’s been going through,” Reynolds said.
Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com