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Judge orders Susan Hunt to accept $900K settlement over son’s death by police

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 23:51:23-05

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah - On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Susan Hunt must accept a settlement from the city of Saratoga Springs regarding her son, Darrien Hunt's, death at the hands of police.

Hunt's family said she rejected the $900,000 settlement because it prevented her from publicly speaking about the case.

Cindy Moss, Susan's sister, said the family is extremely disappointed with the judge’s ruling and Hunt is working with her attorney on appealing the decision.

"We're outraged by the lack of justice that's going on," Moss said.

Darrien Hunt was shot and killed by Saratoga Springs Police outside a Panda Express in September 2014. The shooting was ruled justified.

"It just prevents her from disparaging or saying negative things about this whole incident," said Heather White, attorney for Saratoga Springs.

According to court documents, in July 2015 Hunt wrote an email to her attorney at the time, Robert Sykes, saying she will, "reluctantly accept $850,000 to $900,000."

There is also a phone conversation on record in which Sykes tells Hunt, "The non-disparagement clause is a deal breaker for them (Saratoga Springs) and you told me that it was OK, you would go ahead and sign it, you would go ahead and sign it with that clause in there, right?”

Susan goes on to say, "I will sign it, yes."

Moss said Hunt didn't realize what she was agreeing to, and how extreme this non-disparagement clause is. On Aug. 28, 2015, Hunt fired Sykes and on Sept. 10, 2015 she announced she was refusing the settlement.

"Even 20 years down the road my sister cannot write a book about what really happened, Susan cannot talk in court if they bring a court case against the police department, that's when she's going, ‘I can't do it,’" Moss said.

"If the parties continue to have this dispute in public, in a very public way, which it has been the case, then it doesn't accomplish any of the reasons for the settlement," White said.

Moss also wants to remind the public that the $900,000 settlement is not going to bring back Darrien or give them any closure.

"Our only reason to even care about a dime of that money is to get Susan out of Saratoga Springs, period," Moss said.

Sykes was reached for comment but he only said, "the judge’s ruling today speaks for itself."