UNCW settles lawsuit with family of Peyton Strickland

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 06:55 PM

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has settled a lawsuit with the family of Peyton Strickland.

Strickland, a Durham native, was shot to death by a New Hanover County sheriff’s deputy during a raid at Strickland’s off-campus residence in Wilmington on Dec. 1, 2006 after UNCW police asked for the sheriff’s help in raiding the residence because they suspected residents of the house may have beaten up one of its students on campus and stolen his new video game system.

During the raid, a deputy shot through the door, and the bullets hit Strickland.

In a statement released Thursday, more than six years after the incident, university officials offered sympathies to the Strickland family.

“The investigation by the University confirms that at the time that Peyton was shot by a deputy of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department, [Peyton] was unarmed and did nothing to provoke the shooting,” the statement said. “Indeed, the University acknowledges that at the time of the shooting, Peyton presented no threat to the County’s Emergency Response Team or to anyone else.”

In the statement, UNCW acknowledged that Strickland was a “young man of good character with no criminal record” and “a talented young industrial artist.”

The settlement calls for $150,000 to be paid to Strickland’s estate for the Peyton Brooks Strickland Foundation, which helps students pay for their education at The Hill Center in Durham and at Cape Fear Community College, where Strickland was a student at the time of his death.

Also as part of the settlement, UNCW has agreed to allocate $100,000 to be used to become accredited by the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

To become accredited, an agency must go through a three-year process of self-assessment, including developing professional standards for each of its procedures and showing proof that every officer has been trained to follow those standards.

Following the self-assessment, the commission sends a team to the agency to do an on-site assessment, and later the commission meets to decide whether to accredit the agency.

Previously, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office settled with Strickland’s family for $2.5 million, with that money also going into the foundation, according to published reports.