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Virginia Beach to Pay A $3 Million Settlement To Family of Pharrell Williams

The city of Virginia Beach will pay a $3 million settlement to the family of Donovan Lynch, a cousin of artist Pharrell Williams.

The city of Virginia Beach appears to be taking accountability for the death of Donovan Lynch, a cousin of Pharrell Williams. On Tuesday (December 13), the city and Williams announced that they'd reached an agreement over a year after Lynch's death during a shooting on the city's oceanfront.

"The City of Virginia Beach and the family of Donovon Lynch have agreed to a $3 million settlement in the officer-involved shooting which resulted in the tragic loss of Donovon Lynch’s life in March 2021," read the joint statement.

In June 2021, Lynch's father, Wayne Lynch, filed a $40 million wrongful death lawsuit against Virginia Beach and police officer Solomon D. Simmons. The murder occurred near the city's crowded boardwalk, where Lynch, a former college football player, was at a nightclub with his friend. A burst of gunfire occurred outside when the two men left the nightclub, encountering Simmons who shot twice and killing Lynch “immediately, unlawfully and without warning,” the lawsuit states.

In November 2021, a special grand jury found that Simmons was justified, as Lynch reportedly had a gun, racking a round into the chamber before pointing his weapon toward a parking lot flooded with people and police. The joint statement from Tuesday acknowledged that more has been learned “about the facts of that fateful night and encounter.”

“(W)e have come to understand that a series of unfortunate occurrences led to Donovon’s death that night — which in hindsight should never have occurred as it was later determined that neither Donovon nor the officer set in motion the events that transpired,” the statement said.

The settlement also comes one month after Williams announced that his music festival, Something In the Water, is returning to Virginia Beach in April 2023. Williams, who said Virginia had "toxic energy" following Lynch's death, held the 2022 iteration of the festival in Washington, D.C. during Juneteenth weekend.