Minneapolis Public Schools to approve $500K settlement in Deshaun Hill Jr. death

The Minneapolis school board is set to approve a $500,000 settlement next week for the family of Deshaun Hill Jr., the North High School student who was fatally shot last year.

The settlement is on the consent agenda for the Minneapolis Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday.

Hill, a 15-year-old star quarterback and honor roll student, was shot the afternoon of Feb. 9 while on his way to the bus stop after school.

William Walker, the attorney for Hill’s family, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that North High School Principal Mauri Friestleben had dismissed students early that day to attend a sit-in at Minneapolis City Hall to protest the police shooting of Amir Locke. Walker says Friestleben overrode the instruction of the school district when she let students go early.

The attorney added that Hill’s parents typically picked him up from school and received no notice of the early dismissal.

“If that principal had not released those children on that day, Deshaun Hill would still be alive today,” Walker said.

Minneapolis Public Schools placed Friestleben on leave in May, and she acknowledged on social media that the district “strongly advised” her not to allow students to participate in the protest. The district changed course days later, letting her keep her job after the community rallied behind her.

A demand sent to Minneapolis Public Schools placed liability for Hill’s death with the school district but had to factor in a third party — the alleged shooter Hill encountered after stopping in a convenience store, Walker said.

Walker said the $500,000 settlement is the maximum wrongful death penalty Hill’s family could receive under Minnesota law and that all negotiations with the district happened out of court.

“There is no amount of money that could replace the good work Deshaun Hill had done,” Walker said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to Minneapolis Public Schools for comment.

Cody Fohrenkam, the man accused of shooting Hill, is set to go on trial later this month. He is charged with one count of second-degree intentional murder and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.