$25K for family of man who died after hit in head by officer

A federal judge has approved a $45,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died two days after being hit in the head by a Burlington police officer.

The settlement of the lawsuit filed against the Burlington Police Department and the city by the estate of Douglas Kilburn was approved on Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss and made public Wednesday.

The settlement document says about $25,400 of the $45,000 settlement will go to Kilburn’s estate. The rest will go to attorney’s fees and expenses. The money is being paid by an insurance company.

Kilburn died in March 2019 after he was punched three times by Burlington Officer Cory Campbell during an arrest for assaulting the police officer and disorderly conduct at the University of Vermont Medical Center. An autopsy determined the blows to the head played a role in Kilburn’s death along with other underlying conditions.

Burlington Interim Police Chief Jon Murad didn’t immediately respond to an email Thursday. When reached by phone he said he didn’t have time to talk, but would respond later to the email.

A message sent to the Burlington Police Officers’ Association was not immediately returned Thursday.

A police department report of the confrontation stated that Campbell observed Kilburn in his vehicle, blocking an ambulance bay and yelling at staff.

The two then had an argument in which the officer cursed at Kilburn, and Kilburn punched Campbell in the jaw. Campbell then punched Kilburn three times as Kilburn was brought to the ground and handcuffed.

Kilburn was treated at the medical center and released the following day. Two days later, he was found dead at his home.

An autopsy determined Kilburn’s cause of death was “undetermined terminal mechanism” due to underlying medical conditions, including hypertension, obesity and skull fractures from the altercation.

While Campbell was later found to have been legally justified in the use of force, he was disciplined for using profanity during the altercation with Kilburn. Afterward the department said Campbell received “substantial training and retraining in de-escalation techniques.”