BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Without discussion, Baltimore City's spending board approved $900,000 in workers' compensation benefits for the family of Detective Sean Suiter.
"The city, particularly the city's law department, has done the right thing and acknowledged this was a work-related injury," said Suiter family attorney Charles Schultz. "This resolution will not make up for what happened to this family—what happened to Sean—but it is a significant safety net for the Suiter family."
Suiter died of a gunshot wound to the head while on duty in west Baltimore almost three years ago.
It resolves a legal battle between the city and Suiter's loved ones over whether Baltimore should pay out benefits, which would not be due if the detective killed himself.
Suiter's widow Nicole has maintained her husband would never take his own life.
"This to me is the first step to acknowledging Sean was murdered—the beginning of what my family needs, which is peace of mind. Sean cannot rest in peace until justice is completed. I will continue to fight for justice," Nicole Suiter told WJZ. "No amount of money can bring Sean back and almost certainly no amount of money is worth his life. This case should not be swept under the rug. My husband's life and his death will not be ignored."
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On the anniversary of his death last year, Nicole Suiter told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren that she would continue fighting for justice and wanted her husband's killer to be caught.
Detective Suiter was killed the day before his testimony in front of a grand jury investigating the Gun Trace Task Force scandal—the largest corruption probe in city police history. The GTTF was a group of officers who for years stole cash and drugs from citizens. Many former officers are now in prison.
The medical examiner still lists Suiter's cause of death as a homicide, but an Independent Review Board hired by Baltimore Police and a Maryland State Police investigation both determined the death to be a suicide.
They looked at video of his last moments alive, the bullet that killed him and his final radio transmission. But the family said they did not interview them or others close to Suiter.
"Every day since that horrific day has been a trial. Here it is nearly three years later and the pain prevails," Nicole Suiter said. "Sean Suiter was indeed murdered. Suicide was never an option."
The Suiter family's lawyer says the death investigation remains open.
"We're obviously appreciative that the city has recognized that Sean gave his life to the city that he loved. However, what's more important is that the family and myself, we're still working actively with the Baltimore Police Department," said lawyer Jeremy Eldridge. "We look forward to a day when the crime is finally solved."
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