Federal judge reduces payout for Cordale Handy’s mother by $9M

A federal judge has significantly reduced the payout for the mother of a Black man who was shot and killed by St. Paul police officers in 2017.

Kim Diane Handy-Jones was awarded $11.5 million in August of 2023 for the wrongful death of Cordale Handy, who attorneys say was shot as he was lying on the ground with his hands up.

On Feb. 8, U.S. District Court Judge David Doty ruled that the damages awarded to Handy-Jones were excessive and the judgment should be reduced to $2.5 million.

Handy-Jones must submit a letter to the court by March 1 disclosing whether she will accept the reduced $2.5 million in damages or file an appeal.

In his ruling, Judge Doty said the court may decide a jury’s award is too much “only when the verdict is so grossly excessive as to shock the conscience of the court.” His ruling added that the combined $10 million in compensation and $1.5 million in punitive damages to Handy-Jones was “awarded as the result of passion and prejudice.”

Doty also granted a stay of execution on Handy-Jones’ judgment until an appeal is made.

RELATED: Jury awards $11.5M after finding St. Paul officer civilly liable for 2017 death of Cordale Handy

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, on March 15, 2017, St. Paul Police Officers Nathaniel Younce and Mikko Norman responded to a report of a domestic incident involving numerous shots being fired at a Dayton’s Bluff apartment.

During a 911 call from one of the women at the apartment building, dispatch was told Handy had a gun that was not loaded, according to a report from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. Another woman told Younce the gun was not loaded, according to the report.

Surveillance footage showed officers finding Handy holding a gun near the intersection of Sinnen and East 7th streets, according to the BCA. Both officers told the BCA they ordered Handy to the ground, and he pointed the gun at them twice, prompting them to shoot Handy a combined seven times.

Handy died at the scene.

In 2017, at the time of the shooting, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said he was “surprised by both the finding of liability and the magnitude of damages awarded by the jury in this case,” adding that the officers were met with a “chaotic and dangerous scene.”

“I have always spoken clearly about the high standard to which I hold our police officers,” Carter wrote. “In reviewing the details of this case, I simply cannot conclude that those involved had other reasonable options to immediately resolve this escalating crisis and prevent further loss of life without force.”

In a statement via a family attorney, Handy-Jones said, in part:

No amount of money will ever replace my son, but it shocks my conscience that Judge Doty thinks that the life of a 29-year-old black man is only worth $2.5 million despite that jury finding otherwise.  This ruling is killing my son’s memory all over again.  Now I have to endure the unnecessary grief and suffering of reliving his death and hearing the awful things the City says about my son at yet another trial. Still, I will never stop fighting for my son and for justice for all stolen lives.

A spokesperson for the City of St. Paul released the following statement on Thursday:

We appreciate the Court’s response to our request. The City is reviewing the decision and will decide on the appropriate action in the coming weeks.