The city has reached a legal settlement of almost $500,000 with relatives of a woman shot and killed by a Galveston police officer in 2017.

The relatives of Toni Jo Collins filed a lawsuit in July that asserted city officials influenced the investigation of the events in favor of the officers.

The city agreed Feb. 1 to pay $475,000 to settle the lawsuit Collins’ relatives had filed against the city and officer Evan Fraley, city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said.

The lawsuit, brought by Collins’ father, Bobby Jack Collins, and Leisa Collins, whose relationship to the woman was unclear, claimed that it had been unnecessary for Fraley to shoot Collins.

City officials declined to comment on the settlement Friday. The settlement money will come from a public entry risk fund, which is the city’s insurance, instead of the general fund, Barnett said.

Fraley, who is no longer employed by the Galveston Police Department, shot and killed Collins on March 9, 2017, while he was off duty and in plain clothes.

He reported seeing Collins brandishing a rifle as he approached two people arguing, police said.

This weapon was a pink Daisy BB gun or air rifle, according to the lawsuit.

Fraley shot Collins after a brief confrontation and she was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, according to police reports.

The lawsuit asserted the officer should have had other options and that the city caused the investigation to conclude Fraley had been in fear of his life and was justified in using deadly force.

The lawsuit noted Fraley is 6 feet, 8 inches tall, while Collins is 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and that police officials helped Fraley find a new job with the Hutto Police Department.

A Galveston County grand jury declined to indict Fraley in December 2017, a decision the lawsuit asserted was influenced by city officials to benefit the officer.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

(3) comments

Rusty Schroeder

WOW, $500K is apparently chump change on Galveston Island. From the county to the city, $500K can just disappear and leave nothing but questions. At least in this case we know who the recipients are, who in all honesty probably should have held out for more. Pretty sad commentary of local government on the Island.

Paul Hyatt

Government employees are special compared to the real world. In the real world if you had lost 500K in a scam you would be fired for sure and a good possibility that the police would have come to take you away.... In government you are given a promotion and a raise....

George Croix

There are a LOT of soldiers who stopped getting older over 45 years ago when confronted by a tiny man, or woman, or child, intent on killing them, and the soldier waited too long to react......
As but one example...

The size comparison is great fodder for a jury, but is meaningless in the real world....

An ex-local refining company learned the hard way what happens when you try to settle your way out of accusations too often......
The line just keeps getting bigger......
Let's hope that's not the case here.....

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