New York to Pay Eric Garner’s Family $5.9 Million

New York to Pay Eric Garner’s Family $5.9 Million

Also see: NYPD Edits Wikipedia Entries On Eric Garner, Other Police Brutality Victims

Ahead of the one year anniversary of Eric Garner's death at the hands of NYPD officers, his family has reached a large settlement with the city.

New York City reached a settlement Monday with the family of Eric Garner for $5.9 million, almost a year after the 43-year-old died in police custody.

The family filed a notice of claim in October, the first step in filing a lawsuit against the city, asking for $75 million. Garner was stopped on July 17 outside a convenience store for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. A video shot by an onlooker shows Garner telling the officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed. Garner is taken to the ground in what appears to be a chokehold, banned by police policy. The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, says it was a legal takedown maneuver.

Garner, who had asthma, is heard gasping, "I can't breathe!" 11 times before he loses consciousness. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.

The city medical examiner found that the police chokehold contributed to Garner's death. But a grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict the officer in the death. A federal probe is ongoing.

While the city has a legal department that fields lawsuits, the New York City comptroller's office also can settle claims. Comptroller Scott Stringer has made a point of doing that in civil rights cases, saying that resolving them quickly saves the city money on legal fees.

"Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties," Stringer said in a statement announcing the settlement.

The attorney for Garner's family did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Last month, the comptroller's office agreed to pay $6.25 million to a man who spent nearly 25 years in prison before being exonerated in a killing that happened while he was more than 1,000 miles away vacationing at Disney World.A $6.4 million settlement was reached with a man exonerated in the 1990 killing of a rabbi. Stringer also agreed to a $2.25 million payout to the family of a mentally ill inmate who died in a Rikers Island jail cell that sweltered to 101 degrees because of a malfunctioning heating system, and helped put together a $17 million settlement in the case of three half-brothers who spent a combined 60 years in prison before their convictions were thrown out.


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