New York City, estate of Eric Garner reach $5.9M settlement: Stringer

New York City has reached a preliminary agreement.

The city announced a $5.9 million settlement with Eric Garner’s family Monday, nearly a year since the Staten Island man died after being placed in an apparent chokehold while being arrested.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who has the authority to settle claims against the city, announced Monday evening that his office reached an agreement between the 43-year-old man’s family and the NYPD over a pre-litigation claim in his death.

“While we cannot discuss the details of this settlement, and the city has not admitted liability, 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.

Garner died after Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in an apparent chokehold on July 17, 2014 while being arrested in Staten Island for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.

The incident was captured on video in which Garner is heard saying “I can’t breathe” repeatedly before passing out. The city’s medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide.

Garner’s death took place weeks before Michael Brown was shot during a confrontation with an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and both cases put a new spotlight on police relations with minorities.

On Dec. 3, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo, sparking days of protests throughout the streets of the city from people who called for an end police brutality against minorities. Pantaleo has been on desk duty since the incident.

Garner’s family filed a notice of claim against the city in October seeking $75 million in damages. 

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association didn’t return messages for comment.

Jonathan C. Moore, who represents the Garner estate in the lawsuit, said there would be a news conference at the National Action Network headquarters Tuesday morning. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been aiding the Garner family, plans to hold a protest with the kin Saturday outside the U.S. federal court building in Brooklyn to call on expedited federal investigations in the Garner death.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will attend an interfaith memorial service Tuesday night to commemorate the first anniversary of the incident, said even though the family and the city reached a resolution, no one would forget the tragedy and vowed to improve the environment between the police and community.

“No sum of money can make this family whole, but hopefully the Garner family can find some peace and finality from today’s settlement,” he said in a statement.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the settlement was “one step of many that our city must take to ensure that no more families need suffer this pain,” and called for more reforms.

Ivan Pereira