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Town Agrees To Pay $7 Million To Family Of NK Man Shot By Police

Mark Kilcline, paralyzed after police shot him in 2009, died in April.

Mark F. Kilcline
Mark F. Kilcline

The Town of North Kingstown has agreed to pay $7 million to the family of Mark F. Kilcline, who was paralyzed after being shot by police during a confrontation in 2009. Kilcline died last April

Kilcline filed suit in U.S. District Court in 2010, accusing North Kingstown police of excessive force, gross negligence and brutality after he was shot Feb. 8, 2009. 

According to police, Kilcline, then 19, threatened them with an 8-inch kitchen knife at his residence on Tower Hill Road. According to Muriel Miller, with whom Kilcline had been living, Kilcline – a friend of Miller's grandson – had been upset and had agreed to let her take him to Butler Hospital when the police arrived. 

A grand jury later cleared the police of wrongdoing, ruling they were in imminent danger when they opened fire on Kilcline. 

The settlement must be approved by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith before it is official; he is expected to rule on it Dec. 12. The town's insurer will pick up the $7 million tab.

Town Council President Liz Dolan declined to comment.

Wolfman December 04, 2013 at 04:03 AM
I don't get it, if the Police were found not at fault for any wrong doing, why then do the tax payers have to be punished and pay the 7 million dollars, and yes it's tax payers money because now the Town will have to pay the new premiums, and where do you think that money comes from. So please explain because I just don't get it. Another words if we are paying the 7 MILLION dollars then the Police did do wrong and were at fault right, and if not why then are we paying.. " Confused " Don't get me wrong I have very sympathetic feelings for the family. But it's kind of like saying I am going to jail for life for robbing a bank that I did not rob catch my drift.
Pam December 04, 2013 at 08:09 AM
The cops were going to the house to check on a teenager who had been in distress the night before. The landlady told them not to go up to his apartment, that she and he were each making breakfast and then she was taking him to Butler, as he had asked her to. But the police insisted on bursting in on him, and he had a knife in his hand because he was making breakfast. They decided THEY were in danger, so they shot him nine or ten times (!) including shooting his eye out and leaving him paralyzed for the rest of his life. The grand jury might have found no wrong, but this was so clearly and egregiously wrong that the town had no hope of surviving this case in district court. We taxpayers are lucky it was only $7 million, considering these actions indicate a resident might be gunned down while making a bagel and minding their own business in their own kitchen!
Proud Resident December 04, 2013 at 08:28 AM
Really Pam--making a bagel, so they shoot him? Classic! Police were in the right... The town can't help it if the insurance company wants to settle--they have to agree or risk paying out of general fund. In civil court, it's never a decision of law, it's about business. Everyone loses in this (except the lawyers)!
Just the Facts December 04, 2013 at 08:43 AM
Once again, somebody who knows everything that transpired while police were on scene because they read an article on a 2bit college stepping stone "news" website. Please spare us the rhetoric.
Pam December 04, 2013 at 08:52 AM
It's hard to believe anybody could defend this. If the cops hadn't been there, nothing would have happened. The projo has followed this story. Read the facts there.
Just the Facts December 04, 2013 at 09:05 AM
Again, The ProJo was in the Apt? The Grand Jury was privy to much more than the ProJo was. Do you think the cops just wandered into the situation or maybe a call was made to bring them there? Have you ever been in a situation or been witness to a party who is emotionally unstable w a weapon in hand and they are agitated for some reason? What's hard to believe is somebody thinks they have the answers or knows what happened solely based on hearsay and rumors. You obviously have issues w law enforcement for some reason. Are there bad cops or situations where bad decisions are made? Of course. I highly doubt you have ever had to make a snap life/death decision in a stressful situation in the time frame a cop has to make one. Unless you were in the room or were made aware of ALL the facts in this case, please refrain from armchair quarterbacking.
Ed Renehan December 04, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Do the math. ONE kid with a kitchen knife vs THREE police officers who have to shoot him NINE times to "defend" themselves. Please. I don't have to have been in the room to know that these numbers do not balance. Excessive force? You betcha.
Wolfman December 04, 2013 at 10:40 AM
I can see this was a waste of a comment I am not looking for he said she said because I was not there and neither were you you know they tazed him and it did nothing and he still came at them right ??? Anyhow I am done I am not going to listen to all this BS for one simple question, either your right or your wrong they were found right why are we still paying end of staetment " CONFUSED "
Proud Resident December 04, 2013 at 10:54 AM
There's no right or wrong in civil court (well maybe on Judge Judy). These big dollar claims come down to insurance companies deciding. Grand jury of peers would have found officers at fault if they were wrong.
MeanE December 04, 2013 at 12:45 PM
"The Town of North Kingstown has agreed to pay $7 million..." Who agreed to pay $7 million? I love the armchair quarterbacks that are sure the officers were in the wrong, yet they have most likely never had to deal with a mentally unstable male coming at them with a knife who was not affected by a taze in close quarters. Excessive force? How would you react? Would you decide in seconds or minutes that your partners and yourself have the "numbers" to subdue him without one of us getting stabbed in an artery? Give me a break. I hope Judge Smith denies this settlement! I am with others on here that feel if, "A grand jury later cleared the police of wrongdoing, ruling they were in imminent danger when they opened fire on Kilcline.", then NK should not be paying out any money to the family. Is it sad that the young man had mental issues and was shot before he received proper treatment, of course it was. However, paying the family $7 million does what exactly? There is a problem in our country with mental illness and violent acts being carried out by disturbed individuals, Batman Massacre, Newtown tragedy, Washington DC Naval Yard, etc... What the officers did was proper and possibly could have saved more than just their lives!
josef antinucci December 04, 2013 at 04:26 PM
PLEASE!?! If anyone thinks that this is the kind of police activity that should be condoned then YOU are the problem. A 19 year old kid+A knife+the decision to burst in when asked not to+a scared and maybe troubled human being= NINE bullet shots?!?! And so a jury follows the written language of the law and finds them not guilty of excessive force because he behaved badly with a knife and maybe even did threaten them with it makes it ok for multiple gun fires?!? He may have been the next Jack The Ripper or he may have just been a troubled 19 YEAR OLD kid who would have been a productive member of society. NO ONE knows but what we do know is YOU have a police force that would shoot a 19 year old with a kitchen knife while with other officers! Nice job big boys! I'm sick of this country's police state mentality and even more sickened by people like some of you who will try to put into words how this was, in any way, appropriate. Nice.... Good for you. Better hope your kids minds don't fall into illness where the cops are called. We'll see how you thing about that then. My hope is that you never have too.
Pam December 04, 2013 at 05:48 PM
After this travesty and several others in other local towns, some police departments agreed to have their officers participate in a program to deal better with people with mental health issues. At least some Nk officers participated. This police / mental health problem was the subject of an extensive Sunday page 1 providence journal report. This Nk case was cited, and the Nk police department said they were going for more training. Everybody pretty much acknowledged this was poorly handled. All the cops were there to do was check on this teen to make sure he was ok. The landlady not only told the cops the kid was ok, but that he had asked her to take him to Butler, which she was preparing to do. She asked them not to go up to his apartment. They could have waited for him to comedown of his own accord to get in the car, which they were told he was about to do. I'm sure that's what they would do in such a case now. There was no crime being committed here. The situation was well in hand before the cops got involved.
MeanE December 04, 2013 at 05:56 PM
@josef Police State Mentality? You spent way too much time at the grateful dead university! These officers must have had it out for this kid. They just came to the apartment, guns a blazing and had intent to shoot em up. Yeah that's what happened, these officers are blood thirsty heathens that wanted to kill someone that was mentally disturbed. They must enjoy pulling their guns and firing on people. Easy for you to say that "he behaved badly with a knife" without actually walking in their shoes. It seems you use a knife in your line of work as a chef, but knives can be and have been used as deadly weapons. WHY WERE THE COPS CALLED? Why?, because they needed assistance with a mentally ill young adult that they could not handle any longer on their own. There are definitely instances where abuse and excessive force has been used in law enforcement for sure. However, a grand jury cleared these officers. Furthermore, until your life has been threatened by a person that is not in their right mind, how do you have a leg to stand on? You conveniently left out the part that the police tried to use non deadly force with the individual that had no affect on him. But forget little details like that, they are all just PIGS that want to shoot up the place.
MeanE December 04, 2013 at 06:17 PM
@pam that sounds all well and good, until the officers remain outside and the mentally unstable young male changes his unwell mind and decides he's not going to go outside, instead he is going to kill himself or someone else or both. Then folks like yourself might complain that the officers should've done something to prevent the tragedy. You are talking about sane reasoning when someone is not sane.
Pam December 04, 2013 at 08:33 PM
But he wasn't doing any of that, was he? He was making breakfast. In fact, the cops were called by someone pretty much uninvolved: the mother of another teen who'd been at the apartment the night before. She wasn't worried he was going to harm anyone, because clearly her daughter was allowed to be with him; she was worried that he would harm himself. One aside: can you imagine what would happen in Providence if somebody called and asked the cops to do a "wellness" check? They'd say do it yourself because they have actual crimes there to worry about. The cops in NK, where there is almost nothing to do, have plenty of time to make people's lives worse (when they're not raising revenue on the townsfolk -- I saw three of them at different times today sitting in the bushes waiting for somebody to go 40 in a 35 mph zone). Fewer cops, fewer "crimes."
Proud Resident December 05, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Stupid is as stupid writes.
jean December 05, 2013 at 08:27 AM
All of it is a sad situation. Maybe the 7 million if awarded should be given to students of NK through a scholarship fund in his name , so something good comes of this bad situation. Education is the key to helping the mentally disabled.
Nkr December 05, 2013 at 01:58 PM
I think the rescue takes care of mental illness cases in NK now. If you have a scanner you'll hear them go to a ton of those calls.
MeanE December 05, 2013 at 02:19 PM
@nkr Interesting bit of info. Seems to make sense if there is no immediate threat of weapons or harm to self or others. I still would like to know who agrees to settlements like this one? Town Council, Town Manager, Town's Insurance Rep?
underwhelmed December 05, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Ed R's comments are right on point. I have always supported the NKPD but this one had a real bad feel to it from the beginning. Obviously the town and the insurance company did not want to air out the laundry in a public court of law. My guess is that the judgement could/would have been higher in a jury trial. Don't forget there are punitive and compensatory damages at stake. 7 million is not chump change even to an insurance company. If they thought they could win they would have gone to court. Insurance companies go to court for sums that are far smaller than 7 million. Just go to our esteemed halls of justice and watch the circus that plays out everyday. @jean What about his family? What planet are you on?
jean December 05, 2013 at 06:06 PM
His family? How much money would they actually need? 7 million is quite a bit. And what could they possibly buy that would rectify the man's death. Will it be squandered for trivial wants? The poor guy didn't live long enough to see any of the money. If he has children or a wife than they should be compensated for their loss. Otherwise, they should honor this tragic event by naming a scholarship after him so this tragedy is never forgotten... I'm on the Giving Back Planet for the Good .. How's that!!
underwhelmed December 05, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Jean The audacity of your pedantic comments is appalling. Where do you think that you have any say so in what the family does going forward! Further your comments show that you have very little knowledge of the situation, ie children or wife! You are not on the giving planet you are on the put your nose into a situation where it does not belong planet! Before you espouse personal opinion or uninformed rhetoric, like it is the gospel, you should look at the landslide of personal embarrassment that you bring upon yourself for your uniformed foolishness. You disgust me!
Pam December 05, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Just to put the money in perspective.. it would take a 7 million annuity (savings) to generate 4 pensions of about $50,000 a year for roughly 30 years, assuming those pensions had COLAs and health benefits included only to 65. Not sure if those types of pensions exist anymore, but, if they did, that's the cost. Plenty of public servants are earning that in RI.
underwhelmed December 06, 2013 at 07:51 AM
@Pam What has your post got to do with the subject, please enlighten me. Does anyone know if these officers are still on the NKPD? Just curious.
Politics Sheriff of NK December 15, 2013 at 12:23 AM
OK I am going to chime in here with a whole other angle... I used to work with a professional guy who was a knife fighter as a hobby. I hadn't even heard of the sport, but he is a very studious person. This was before the Kilcline tragedy took place. He had told me that knives are EXTREMELY dangerous when wielded within 25 feet, based on speed, lethality, reaction time and so on. I didn't exactly understand it but I respect him for the reasons mentioned above. With that said, a while back I had spoken my opinion that this tragedy had its roots in the part of the sequence BEFORE the room was entered. That part was under the control of the responding officers. Their decisions were guided by their prior training. No NK cop got up that morning wanting to shoot ANYBODY. But the town and police dept, I feel, was responsible for unwittingly setting the stage for this tragedy via lack of preparation and other decisions leading up to having no choice but to apply lethal force, and on that basis a settlement is certainly justified. Supporting this position is that our town adopted training and procedure upgrades to deal with the mentally ill by our police going forward. You (the town and pd) cant paint yourself into a corner and then say "I couldn't help it look at the corner I was in" to justify lethal force. In my opinion, this was a combination of prior errors that for the most part no one in particular can be blamed for. The only way forward is to learn from it, train for better handling of these situations, and compensate the family. And that's exactly what happened. But I believe there was no motive among these cops to harm anyone that day, if it could have been avoided.
Proud Resident December 16, 2013 at 04:41 AM
The police never entered the bedroom. Kilcline came out into the hallway with the knife overhead trying to stab police.

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