PALM BEACH GARDENS - The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the parents of Seth Adams, the unarmed 24-year-old who was shot and killed by Sergeant Michael M. Custer in 2012, according to the law firm that represents Richard and Lydia Adams.
Adams’ parents have accepted the civil settlement as an acknowledgement by the Sheriff’s Office that Sgt. Custer’s actions were unjustified and have now turned their attention to seeing criminal charges brought against him, the law firm, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, said in a statement.
The $2.5 million payout, to be made in two installments of $1.25 million in June and another $1.25 million at the start of the new fiscal year for the sheriff’s office in December, marks the largest settlement amount in the department’s history for a wrongful death case.
While the settlement concludes the family’s civil case against the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office, Seth Adams’ parents today called on the State’s Attorney for Palm Beach County, Dave Aronberg, and United States Department of Justice to initiate independent criminal investigations into Sgt. Custer’s misconduct and whether it violated Seth Adams’ civil rights.
“This settlement is not justice, but it is vindication for Seth and an acknowledgment by the County Sheriff’s Office that the shooting was unjustified,” said Richard Adams, Seth Adams’ father.
Seth Adams’ parents say they still want Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg to reopen a criminal investigation into Adam’ shooting death.
“I’m broken. I’m angry. My son should be here. He was in the prime of his life.” Lydia Adams said at a 1 p.m. press conference at her attorneys’ office.
“I would like him to come clean. I pray for him. I’m working on forgiveness,” she said of sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Custer, who shot and killed her son.
Richard Adams said the “community should be outraged” and the sheriff “should clean up his act.”
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