GULFPORT, Miss. – A settlement has been reached in a racial discrimination lawsuit against a Mississippi Gulf Coast county and its coroner.
The settlement was announced Friday during a trial that began Monday. It isn't immediately clear if the county will pay damages to the funeral homes or agree to policy changes.
The trial centered on allegations that Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove steered county business away from black-owned funeral homes.
The funeral homes' attorneys argued that Hargrove gave a disproportionate share of public dollars to two white-owned funeral homes. Hargrove maintained during testimony that he is "colorblind" in his job duties.
Plaintiffs' attorney David Owens has said more than 80 percent of county payments between 2012 and 2016 went to one white-owned funeral home. The second white-owned company got most remaining money.