Brittney Gilliam's Family Reaches A Settlement | Crooked Media
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February 05, 2024
What A Day
Brittney Gilliam's Family Reaches A Settlement

In This Episode

  • Brittney Gilliam agreed to a $1.9 million settlement more than three years after police officers in Aurora, Colorado held her, her sister, her two nieces, and her six-year-old daughter at gunpoint. This comes on the heels of two new studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association that show the effect of police violence on Black communities.
  • Educators in Durham, North Carolina held another “Day of Protest” on Monday that forced Durham Public Schools to close seven schools. It was the second demonstration that caused closures in less than a week over a pay dispute with the school board. Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina in Greensboro is eliminating 20 programs from its roster, citing low enrollment.
  • And in headlines: Nevada’s Democratic and Republican presidential primaries are happening on Tuesday, King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer, and some scientists say that hurricanes are getting so intense that it may be time for a new rating.


Show Notes:




Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, February 6th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What a Day, the podcast that is so happy to report that Megan Thee Stallion’s Hiss is the number one song in the US. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I know someone who is not happy to hear that report. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, we not even acknowledging her right now, okay? [laugh]


Josie Duffy Rice: Look. This is your sign to not give people free publicity. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, she about to go down two more flights of spiral case, okay? [laughter] [music break] On the show, Nevada’s Democratic and Republican presidential primaries are happening today. Plus, King Charles the Third has been diagnosed with cancer. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But first, in August 2020 cops in Aurora, Colorado made national news when they held Brittney Gilliam, her sister and nieces, and her six year old daughter at gunpoint. The police approached the two women and three young girls in their car and forced them to lay on the ground, including the six year old. And now, three and a half years later, the Aurora police have finally settled with Brittney and her family for $1.9 million dollars. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh my God, $1.9 million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Josie, can you remind us of the background here? What happened? 


Josie Duffy Rice: It is a lot of money and maybe somehow not enough in some ways. Brittney had taken her sister, her six year old daughter, and two of her nieces on a quote, “Sunday Funday” to get their nails done in Aurora. And they were sitting in the car when five cops approached their car with their guns out after mistakenly identifying the car as stolen. So they forced them all out of the car and onto the ground. And after one of the officers hesitated to handcuff the children, another officer told her to handcuff some of them. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The video is like, unbelievable. It’s just outrageous to see a sobbing six year old girl. She’s wearing a tiara and she’s watching her mother get kind of manhandled by the police as she’s being detained by police. I mean, it’s wild, right? And you may not be surprised to learn that the car was not actually stolen. The plates that they were searching for were actually on a motorcycle from a completely different state. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh my God. So the police department rightfully is paying this family a settlement, or I guess I should say, the taxpayers are paying this family a settlement. But what happened to the officers? What’s going on with them? 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that the officers were not fired. An investigation found that they were, quote, “following their training for conducting a high risk stop of what they suspected was a stolen vehicle,” which to me just says that like your training says that five officers should pull a gun on a car without even double checking that it’s the right vehicle. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wild. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Or even kind of right kind of vehicle. I mean, how is that your training? How does that align with their training? And not only, Tre’vell, did the police officers get to keep their job. One of them actually ran for sheriff in 2022, a couple of years after this happened. He uh thankfully did not win. But even like running for office indicates that these cops are not really doing very much reckoning. I think I heard a lot about reckoning a few years ago and I’m not seeing it right now. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, right. And this is the exact same police department that killed Elijah McClain, who was a young Black violinist back in 2019, in one of the most devastating, publicized police brutality incidents in probably recent memory. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I know they settled that case for $15 million dollars. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. I mean, it’s a reminder that, like, when we talk about police brutality, it’s also extremely expensive. I mean, that’s very low on the list of what it does, but people are paying out millions and millions of dollars because police act absurdly and dangerously too often. This recent settlement for Brittney and her family comes on the heels of two new studies in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. The studies, which are on police brutality, show that it has a broader effect on Black people in Black communities than we even realize. So one study found that Black people are more likely to suffer significant injury when tased by the police, which is pretty significant given how often tasers are used. The other found that after, quote, “nationally prominent cases” where police kill an unarmed Black person, Black people in that same state sleep worse for up to six months after. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So that study looked at over 2 million data points and basically determined that Black people in the same state as the actual incident show a statistically significant increase in sleep disturbances compared to white people, which is just to say like this has an effect beyond the person harmed or their family or their friends. It really causes major discomfort and anxiety and disturbance for the broader community. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, and all the more reason why police, right, shouldn’t be inflicting this harm and this violence on anyone, because it’s not just impacting that one person, it’s impacting an entire community. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. Absolutely. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Thanks for that, Josie. Now on to a couple stories out of North Carolina where school staff and students are speaking out against their institutions. First, in Durham, educators held another day of protest on Monday that forced Durham Public Schools to close seven schools. It was the second demonstration that caused school closures in less than a week. Held by the Durham Association of Educators, that’s the teachers union there, over a pay dispute with the school board. So here’s what’s going down. According to Spectrum News 1, there was a salary study done in the district in July of last year, the results of which led to employees getting a 4% raise. But in October, the school district accidentally overpaid some folks somehow. The payroll error overall affected 1300 employees, and by the time they realized their mistake and realized that they needed to, you know, course correct to a pay scale that was more sustainable, one that they could actually afford. The district said that it wouldn’t request the money back, but it would reduce pay in future checks. So all of these folks who got this extra few dollars are now going to be missing money in their upcoming checks. Here’s one Durham Public School worker at the protest yesterday, speaking to CBS17. 


[clip of Durham Public School worker] At the beginning of the school year they took my 20 years of experience into consideration. And then January I did get an email saying that they’d bring me down to step zero, which cuts my pay over $600. 


Josie Duffy Rice: This to me sounds like they gave people a raise. Then they made a mistake. And now they’re taking the raise back because of their mistake. Am I correct on that?


Tre’vell Anderson: That is basically what happened here. Right. And so Durham Public School staff has been protesting and many teachers have also joined them. That’s why the schools have had to close. And for what it’s worth, the school board has taken responsibility for the mishap with the payments, even suspending the CFO in response. But in a statement, the Durham Association of Educators said, quote, “These workers made life altering decisions based on those raises that they cannot undo. Some upgraded their apartments or cars or childcare. Some quit second and third jobs. Now they worry if they will be able to pay their bills and feed their families when they get their February paycheck in a few short weeks. Without a resolution immediately, our schools and students risk losing even more essential staff members in the midst of a staffing crisis the district has been suffering for years.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s already hard enough right to be a public school teacher, especially in many of these austerity states, and this must feel like a punch in the gut. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. So the next board meeting is set for later this week, at which a decision hopefully will be made. Until then, the Association of Educators did say that they had no other planned demonstrations that would lead to school closures, but that if they did not get what they think is a fair deal, another escalation might be required. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay, so that’s one North Carolina story. What was the second North Carolina story that you have for us? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So the second one really quickly is from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. The institution is eliminating 20 programs from their academic roster, citing low enrollment as the cause. Since this forthcoming plan was announced a couple weeks ago, students and faculty have held demonstrations on campus expressing their concern. Take a listen to a couple students speaking to WFMY News 2. 


[clip of unidentified student 1 talking to WFMY News 2] They’ve made it so very clear that they have no interest in being respectful or transparent towards the students, towards the faculty. 


[clip of unidentified student 2 talking to WFMY News 2] Because it’s such a small program, we’ve been able to develop these connections with our professors that I don’t think that other programs really realize. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And so the official word came down last week, and UNC Greensboro’s Chancellor Franklin Gilliam Jr. said there was no other way forward but through these changes. Here he is speaking with WFMY as well. 


[clip of UNC Greensboro Chancellor Franklin Gilliam Jr.] We’ve lost 12% of our student body since 2019. Our budgets reduced in significant ways. Can’t cut any more staff. We’re down to the bone and using your reserves is a very bad strategy generally and a bad long term strategy. So we then had to say, because I did that to protect the academic core, but our choices now leave us where we have to look at the academic core. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s so sad. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Which programs are impacted here? 


Tre’vell Anderson: So now this is a good question because I know that I at least immediately thought this might have been a byproduct of the attack on DEI or critical race theory that we see happening across a number of states, particularly southern states. But that’s not the case here. Basically, the school did a review of its academic program starting back in 2022. And with the goal, the Chancellor said of, quote, “Better aligning resources with our mission, student and community needs and competitive demands.” And so the result is that a handful of undergraduate majors were removed, including anthropology, physics, and religious studies, as were the minors in Chinese and Russian. And on the graduate side of things, they’re ending the PhD programs in communication sciences and computational mathematics, as well as master’s programs in applied geography and interior architecture, among others. Luckily though, the students who are currently enrolled in these programs, they will still be able to finish their degrees, but they will be the last 230 students to earn them. And that is the latest for now. [music break]


Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Starting in Nevada, where the state run Democratic and Republican presidential primaries are happening today. On the Democratic ballot, President Joe Biden will appear alongside author Marianne Williamson and 11 other candidates that you probably have not heard of. Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota is not competing. Biden campaigned in Las Vegas on Sunday, and on Monday, he met with members of the state’s culinary workers union. Take a listen to what he had to say. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] I have a reputation, and I’m proud of being the most pro-union president in American history. There’s a simple reason for that. When unions are doing well, everybody does well, [phone ringing sound] [applause] not a joke. [?]


Josie Duffy Rice: Today is also the Republican presidential primary, which comes just two days before its Republican presidential caucus. This is weird, obviously we know. So for some background here, the state held nominating caucuses for decades. But that changed in 2021 when the Democratic controlled state government passed a law requiring the silver state to hold a primary. The state GOP, however, did not like that new system, and they opted to hold their own caucuses this Thursday, and the party decided that it will only allocate delegates to whomever wins the caucus, not the primary, making today’s Republican primary kind of just like symbolic. So this is basically the most ridiculous way to do a primary, like, ever. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Josie Duffy Rice: To add to the confusion, Donald Trump is not on the primary ballot and Nikki Haley is not participating in the caucus, which basically means that Haley can’t earn any delegates. And it’s all but guaranteed that Trump will earn the 26 delegates. Haley is on one ballot that doesn’t matter. Trump is doing one caucus that does matter. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s all a mess. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Like we can’t get people to show up to one election day. Why are we doing two?


Tre’vell Anderson: The GOP going to do with the GOP want to do. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Buckingham Palace announced yesterday that King Charles the Third was recently diagnosed with cancer and will be withdrawing from his public facing duties while he undergoes treatment. The cancer was discovered after his treatment for an enlarged prostate last month. The palace didn’t provide any further details as to what kind of cancer the king was diagnosed with, or what stage the cancer was found, just that it was not prostate cancer. And while details are scarce, the fact that the palace was open about the king’s condition at all is significant. The royals are traditionally very secretive about illnesses to protect their privacy and their image. According to an official statement from the palace, the king wanted to share his diagnosis to keep the public from speculating on his condition in hopes that it may, quote, “assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: Boeing said we’ve got 99 problems and more on the way. [laughter] Stay tuned for uh more Jay-Z discourse at the end of the show. But what the aircraft company really said was that on Sunday, an employee at one of their suppliers found improperly drilled holes on the plane’s window frames, which means that Boeing has to rework about 50 planes that hadn’t yet been delivered. That’s according to the company’s commercial airplanes chief, Stan Deal. Boeing said that the issue does not affect the safety of Max jets already flying. However, if you’ve been listening to WAD for the past month, you will know that Boeing has been facing increasing scrutiny from regulators over the quality and safety of their aircrafts. Because on January 5th, a door plug blew out of the side of an Alaska Airlines plane shortly after takeoff in the air. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Like just blew off. So, you know, when you told me that the safety of your jets is fine, I have questions, and there’s a history here, too. The 737 Max planes were grounded in 2018 after flight control systems were involved in two deadly crashes. Look, people make mistakes, however I need plane companies to not make mistakes. That’s the deal. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Not these kind. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Uh uh. 


Tre’vell Anderson: At all. Snap, the owner of Snapchat, says it will lay off about 10% of its global workforce, or more than 500 employees. It sounds like most of those cuts will happen in the first quarter of this year. The company announced the layoffs in a regulatory filing on Monday, and it comes after Snap eliminated 20% of its workforce in 2022. A Snap spokesperson told CNN in a statement that the layoffs were done in part to reduce hierarchy and, quote, “promote in-person collaboration.” Not they trying to get us back into the office. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Snap now joins other tech companies that have announced cuts just this year, including Amazon, Google, TikTok and Microsoft. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And finally, some scientists say that hurricanes are getting so intense it may be time for a new rating. Right now, the maximum on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a category five, which is for storms with winds of at least 157mph. But a study released Monday examined storm data between 1980 and 2021 and found storms are getting stronger as the climate warms. They proposed a new rating system that goes up to category six, and says some storms would already meet that criteria. Climate scientists have been warning that storms are getting more intense more quickly because as the world warms, the ocean temperatures go up and more moisture is held in the air, and that fuels hurricanes. And speaking of storms, we told you yesterday about the atmospheric river sweeping across California. Los Angeles saw historic levels of rainfall yesterday, more than six inches from Sunday through Monday. LA City Mayor Karen Bass told residents to stay off the roads when possible as officials clear through flooding and mudslides. In Georgia, six inches doesn’t even register. But I know in California, y’all are struggling. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, I got my galoshes on, okay? I had to go swimming to the trash can, Josie. [laughter] It’s bad out here, girl. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, man. This is the coastal elite. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, okay? The world is on fire, okay? 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Global warming is real. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The hurricanes are getting stronger, and they want to create a new category. It is hard out here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. I don’t like the new category. I don’t like it. I don’t want it. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Tre’vell Anderson: All righty WAD Squad, it is Tuesday and for today’s temp check we are continuing our coverage of the award show that still has everybody talking right now. As we mentioned on yesterday’s show, Sunday night was the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. We recapped a bit of the winners, including SZA, Victoria Monét, Boygenius, and Miley Cyrus, but a whole lot of other stuff happened after we logged off for the night. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, a lot happened. Some standout moments include artist Annie Lennox calling for a ceasefire in Gaza during a powerful tribute to the late Irish activist and singer songwriter Sinead O’Connor. Tracy Chapman duetted her 1998 hit song Fast Car with country artist Luke Combs. It was her first live performance in years, and that is, I mean, a top five song still. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And of course, Taylor Swift was awarded the Grammy for album of the year for her record Midnights. During one of her acceptance speeches, she shocked fans by announcing that she would be dropping another album in April, titled The Tortured Poets Department. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm mm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, you know, speaking of the coveted album of the year award, the moment of the night that had all the girlies gagging was when Jay-Z accepted the Dr. Dre Award for Global Impact. Now I’m going to hold my tongue on the award, even being named after Dr. Dre. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah don’t like that. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And just focus on the Jay-Z of it all, because the rapper used his time on stage to criticize the Recording Academy for never giving his wife the one and only Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter, okay, the award for album of the year, despite her having a record 32 trophies under her belt. Take a listen. 


[clip of Jay-Z at the 2024 Grammys] I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won album of the year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys, never won album of the year. That doesn’t work. You know, some of you, some of you going to go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed. Some of you may get robbed. [laughter] Some of you don’t belong in the category. [laughter and uproar] All right. No no no no no no, that was it. No. When I get nervous, I tell the truth. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: Same. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Me too. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It was so chaotic. Jay-Z is approaching 60 and you know it because he said young lady. [laughter] This young lady. I was like, that is uncle status. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] It is giving, uncle. It’s giving grandpa. But I love this moment because, you know, he used this moment to stand on business and critique the Recording Academy, like the rest of us have been critiquing the Recording Academy. And I won’t use this as an opportunity to say anything bad about the other young lady that we just discussed moments ago, who now has four, I believe, of these album of the year awards. And Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter ain’t got nary one. Come on. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I think we can all agree that that doesn’t make any sense. Doesn’t make any sense. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But a lot of icons right in music have never gotten–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –the album of the year–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


–award. So–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s true. 


Tre’vell Anderson: There’s that. 


Josie Duffy Rice: There is that. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But that was one of my favorite moments. Josie, what about you? Anything stood out to you? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. I also loved that moment because I was so nervous because he, nothing was planned. [laughter] That man was just talking and so I had to mute it. I couldn’t take the stress of what he might say, but I watched it later and enjoyed it. I liked Joni Mitchell. I thought Joni Mitchell did great. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh so beautiful. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I liked Burna Boy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Sure. Uh huh uh huh.


Josie Duffy Rice: That was cool. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Uh huh. I I Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I mean, I just liked a Nigerian artist coming out. I thought that was, like, exciting. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. On the main stage of– 


Josie Duffy Rice: On the main stage. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –of the Grammys. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know they like to put the culture, you know, on the pre-show. I will give a quick shout out to the one and only season three winner of American Idol, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh my God. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Who shut it down. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Amazing. Incredible. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Incredible. 


Tre’vell Anderson: With her Proud Mary, Tina Turner tribute. Okay.


Josie Duffy Rice: I had forgotten how amazing her voice. Like I just hadn’t heard it in a minute. I mean, it was unbelievable. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Incredible. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Legends on legends.


Josie Duffy Rice: I have to say, I was really excited that Victoria Monét won. And let me tell you who was the most excited about that. My father, who– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh! 


Josie Duffy Rice: –is Victoria Monét’s biggest fan. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh! 


Josie Duffy Rice: Plays her album constantly and was very, very excited that she won. So shout out to my dad. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I love a cross generational talent, you know what I mean? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. My dad thinks he’s 35. So–


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s the real cross generational thing up in here. But but you know we let him believe. We let him believe. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I love that. And just like that we have checked our temps. I think they’re pretty okay on the Grammys. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It seemed like we enjoyed them. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Love that for us. [music break]




Josie Duffy Rice: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Stream Megan Thee Stallion’s Hiss and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just Jay Z’s acceptance speech like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at! I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


[spoken together] And give us a Grammy for album of the year. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We should try to make an album and see how it compares because I feel like nobody would be a fan of my album. Nobody. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, you know, I’ve been working on my songwriting skills–


Josie Duffy Rice: [gasp] Have you really? 


Tre’vell Anderson: –because that’s how Taylor Swift be getting the girls, is the songwriting.


Josie Duffy Rice: She can write a song. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So stay tuned. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m ready. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Just stay tuned. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m ready. [laughter] [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz, our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.