WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has agreed to settle the federal lawsuit brought against the agency by the family of Seth Adams, an unarmed civilian killed by plain-clothed PBSO Sgt. Michael Custer.
And Bradshaw agreed to pay Adams’ estate $2.5 million to prevent a second civil trial that could be just as an embarrassing to his agency as the first one, which was called a mistrial in March when one juror refused to find PBSO negligent.
The amount is believed to be the highest to be paid out by the agency to a civilian in its history! And it’s not subject to a vote in the Florida legislature.
Adams’ lawyers quietly called a surprise press conference with “select” members of the corporate media at their offices in Palm Beach Gardens at 1 p.m. today to announce the settlement.
As usual, Gossip Extra doesn’t wait for “official” handouts from authorities and is first to publish the information!
The settlement is surprising since Adams’ family vowed since Seth’s shooting in 2012 to drag PBSO before the public until Bradshaw apologize for the agency’s numerous shortcomings.
A part of the family’s anger was sparked by the fact PBSO’s Internal Affairs deemed the shooting “justified” after what even the judge in the case deemed to be a shoddy investigation that included its inability to gather all of Custer’s bullets as well as the mysterious disappearance of Custer’s on-duty cellphone and on-board computer.
PBSO also failed to cooperate fully with the investigation into the shooting conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A scathing job evaluation from Custer’s supervisor showing he might not be fit for duty when he killed Adams was not originally surrendered to the FDLE.
Using PBSO’s IA investigation, the office of the Palm Beach County State Attorney also deemed the shooting “justified.”
With police shootings nationwide causing controversy, Adams’ killing also struck a nerve in Palm Beach County, especially since the numerous missteps by PBSO seemed to indicate a coverup — starting with Bradshaw showing up at the scene and telling reporters it was definitely a clean shooting.
Adams was on the ground of his family’s nursery in Loxahatchee about 10 p.m. when he spotted Custer’s unmarked squad car. A conversation between the two degenerated into an argument, and Custer shot Adams because, he claimed, he thought Adams was reaching for a gun in his pickup truck.
There was no gun.
There was even doubt that Custer was on-duty that night, but he claimed he was working on a large-scale burglary investigation.
What Adams’ family claimed is that the married Custer was fooling around with his mistress in the car when he was busted by Adams.
Photos from the scene seemed to indicate another car leaking AC water was at the scene then disappeared, and PBSO IA sleuths were incapable to find that vehicle.
A civil trial in March ended in mistrial after one juror refused to find PBSO liable for the killing. Gossip Extra reported exclusively that the juror was Dirty Dancing actor Patrick Swayze‘s widow, a Boca Raton resident.
The news of the $2.5 million-settlement comes in the midst of Bradshaw’s yearly claims that PBSO is strapped for money.
To this day, neither Custer nor any other PBSO employee has been disciplined for Adams’ killing.