May 17, 2017

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the $2.5 million settlement would be paid by insurance. The Sheriff’s Office is not insured, and the money will come from its tax-funded budgets.

A day before the fifth anniversary of Seth Adams’ fatal encounter with Palm Beach County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Custer, Adams’ parents announced Monday that they settled their wrongful death suit against the Sheriff’s Office for $2.5 million — the largest settlement in the department’s history.

The announcement came with mixed emotions from Richard and Lydia Adams, who said the settlement wasn’t justice, but was a vindication of their son nonetheless. At a press conference with their attorney, Wallace McCall, the Adamses had harsh criticism for both Custer and the sheriff’s office and urged Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg to reopen an investigation and pursue criminal charges against Custer.

“I would like him to come clean,” Lydia Adams said of Custer, who claimed he shot the unarmed Adams in self-defense. “I pray for him. I’m working on forgiveness.”

Prayers, both their own and those from supporters, are what Richard Adams said helped them through the ordeal that began May 16, 2012, when they heard their son had been shot three times in a parking lot encounter with Custer.

Custer, who was working an undercover detail conducting surveillance on a group of bank robbers known as “The Safe Boys,” confronted Adams at about 11:40 p.m. in the parking lot of the A One Stop Garden Shop on A Road in Loxahatchee, the family nursery where the 24-year-old Adams lived and worked.

That confrontation became the center of a three-week trial in the Adams family’s wrongful death suit against Custer and the sheriff’s office in March, when McCall and attorney Stephan LeClainche presented several witnesses who said Custer’s version of events directly contradicted physical evidence in the case.

The full article can be read here.