The city of Virginia Beach has agreed to pay a $3 million settlement to the father of Donovon Lynch, a Black man shot and killed by a police officer last March. Lynch is a cousin of acclaimed songwriter and record producer Pharrell Williams, a Virginia Beach native who used his voice to call national attention to the case.

On March 26th, 2021, Lynch, a 25-year-old former college football player, was with a friend at a nightclub on Virginia Beach’s boardwalk when gunfire erupted outside. They left the club and headed toward their cars when they encountered officer Solomon Simmons, who is also Black. Authorities said Lynch was carrying a gun he lawfully owned, and Simmons claimed to have shot him in self-defense.

A special grand jury previously determined that there was no probable cause to warrant criminal charges against Simmons. Donovon’s father Wayne Lynch then filed a $50 million wrongful death suit against the city and the officer on behalf of his son’s estate. The suit claimed that the city’s improper training of Simmons and its police officers led to Lynch’s death.

“Immediately, unlawfully and without warning, officer Simmons fired his police-issued firearm at Mr. Lynch, shooting him twice and killing him,” the lawsuit states.

In a joint statement from the city and Lynch’s estate released on Tuesday after the settlement was finalized, city officials acknowledged wrongdoing in the way the case was handled.

“As we have learned more over time about the facts of that fateful night and encounter, we 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 read.

Earlier this year, as the case continued to unfold, Pharrell announced he would move his Something in the Water festival from Virginia Beach to Washington, D.C., citing his hometown’s “toxic energy.” After a 2022 outing in Washington, D.C. that was plagued by “disorganization” and deemed a “logistical nightmare” by USA Today, Pharrell recently announced that the festival will return to Virginia Beach in 2023 for its third edition.

“I need to come back home,” Williams said in November when the dates were announced. “There is a pervasive feeling by almost everyone that the festival belongs in Virginia Beach, and the time is right to bring it back.”