NYC Settles With Family Of Eric Garner For $5.9 Million

Jul 13, 2015
Originally published on July 13, 2015 11:49 pm

Updated at 11:27 p.m. ET.

The family of Eric Garner has reached a settlement with New York City over Garner's death in police custody last July, the family's attorney confirms to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang.

Attorney Jonathan Moore says the city has agreed to pay $5.9 million.

Garner died last July in Staten Island, N.Y., after a police officer wrapped his arm around Garner's neck while he was being arrested for selling loose cigarettes. Cellphone video captured officers wrestling Garner, 43, to the ground. The New York Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.

In December, a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who applied the chokehold. The Justice Department opened its own inquiry.

Member station WNYC reports that Garner's estate filed the claim in October and that New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer settled before it went to trial. WNYC adds:

"In a statement, Stringer said the city has not admitted liability, but said he believes the agreement acknowledges 'the tragic nature of Garner's death,' while balancing his office's fiscal responsibility."

A separate settlement was reached between the family and Richmond University Medical Center, which sent responders to the scene. The amount agreed upon is confidential, Garner family attorney Moore and a hospital spokesperson told NPR.

"In New York City and in other urban centers around the country, I think we have to look at policing and community in figuring out a way for both of those things to happen in a peaceful way," Comptroller Stringer told NPR.

Garner's death has become part of a national conversation — and protests — about race, the police and use of force. (The Two-Way pulled one particularly telling clip of audio between Eric Garner's stepfather and a protester in New York in December.) NPR's Martin Kaste has also reported on the decades-old debate over police use of neck restraints.

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