The city of New York this week reached a $5.9 million settlement with the family of Eric Garner, whose death after he was placed in a banned chokehold by a police officer, sparked a public outcry nationwide.
Garner’s family filed notice of a $75 million lawsuit against New York City and the New York Police Department in October 2014, according to Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, who announced the settlement.
“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.
Garner, 46, died on Staten Island on July 17, 2014 during an arrest for allegedly selling untaxed, single cigarettes. The confrontation was caught on video as Garner, an asthmatic, was heard saying “I can’t breathe” nearly a dozen times while he was placed in an apparent chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. His last words would become a rallying cry for anti-police-brutality protesters from New York to California.
“We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our city and our nation,” Strigner stated. “It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve.”
The settlement does not mean that New York City has accepted liability for Garner’s death; Stringer stated that the agreement “acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the city.”
A U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Garner’s death is ongoing.