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Regional News

Springfield To Pay $6.5 Million To Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 27 Years

Mark Schand and his wife Mia at their Windsor, Connecticut, home.
Karen Brown
/
NEPM
Mark Schand and his wife Mia at their Windsor, Connecticut, home.

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, will pay $6.5 million to a man wrongfully incarcerated for almost three decades.

Mark Schand was convicted for a 1986 nightclub shooting in Springfield that killed a bystander. In 2013, a judge determined he was wrongfully convicted and the district attorney dropped all charges.

Since then, Schand won a civil suit of $27 million against four Springfield police officers. He also sued the city of Springfield, but that part of the lawsuit was dismissed.

Both sides have appealed, and this week, the city solicitor recommended Springfield settle with Schand for $6.5 million and take that money from the rainy day fund. Councilors approved the settlement unanimously on Monday evening.

"On the one hand, you have a gentleman — a human being — who was wrongfully accused and lost 27 years of his life. It’s not something you can put a price on," City Councilor Orlando Ramos said at the meeting. "And, on the other hand, we are talking about a lot of money."

Ramos and other councilors said cases like this show the importance of police reform. The Springfield police department has been widely criticized for misconduct in recent years, including by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The City Council also voted at the meeting to spend about $200,000 to settle two other suits — one for wrongful conviction and another for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.

Since he was released, Schand has opened a Smoothie restaurant in Connecticut — using part of a $450,000 settlement he got from the state of Massachusetts.

Schand has said in the past that any money he gets in compensation in no way makes up for the injustice he suffered and the many years of productive life he lost.

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