On Monday, the family of a black man who was killed after a white police officer placed him on a chokehold reached a settlement of $5.9 million with the city.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that the settlement with the family of Eric Garner was “in the best interest of all parties.” He further added that the city was not liable for the incident. The settlement comes days before Eric’s death anniversary.
“I believe that we have reached an agreement that acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the City,” Stringer said in a statement.
In October, a notice of claim was filed by Eric’s family against the city for $75 million.
According to Yahoo News, Eric was accused of illegally selling loose and untaxed cigarettes. He was stopped by police officers on July 17 last year outside a Staten Island convenience store. A video footage captured by a passer-by reveals that Eric told the officers to let him be.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo wrapped his arm around the neck of an asthmatic Eric, who could be heard in the video, gasping “I can’t breathe!” several times before finally losing consciousness. Arriving at the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
Although the chokehold was concluded by the city medical examiner to be a contributing factor to Eric’s death (it was deduced that the officers had pressed Garner’s neck and chest), a grand jury did not indict the offer in question. According to CBC News, the death was ruled as a homicide.
Esaw Garner, Eric’s widow, expressed her anger that Pantaleo was able to escape charges. She says that he should be jailed.
“I think (he) should be thrown in the cell with Big Bubba and nobody watch ’em!” she said.
Meanwhile, Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, said, “The unbelievable part is this has not soured him one bit on doing law enforcement. It hasn’t diminished his desire to help the citizens of this city.”
There have been several police brutality cases, which have led to deaths of victims, in the last year, as reported by New York Daily News. Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson. Walter Scott was shot in the back by Michael Slager, an officer from North Charleston (a video was captured of the incident). Akai Gurley was killed after Peter Liang from the NYPD shot him inside a darkened Brooklyn stairwell.
In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “No sum of money can make this family whole, but hopefully the Garner family can find some peace and finality from today’s settlement.
“By reaching a resolution, family and other loved ones can move forward even though we know they will never forget this tragic incident.”
On Tuesday, de Blasio will speak at a memorial service held in Eric’s honor.
“By reaching a resolution, family and other loved ones can move forward even though we know they will never forget this tragic incident,” de Blasio.
The Garners’ lawyer, Jonathan Moore, who is also a civil rights attorney, said that a confidential settlement had also been made with the Richmond University Medical Center, which had responded to the scene.
Rev. Al Sharpton highlighted the growing cases of police brutality, saying that the settlement did not address the questions of violence against minorities. A rally on Saturday calling for a federal probe into Eric’s death would take place as scheduled, he said.
“We did not march and build a movement just to get money,” he said.
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