Garner Family Rejects $5 Million Settlement With New York City

A shot from an Eric Garner rally in New York last winter. Photo: The All-Nite Images/Flickr Creative Commons

The family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man killed by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo by way of an illegal chokehold last year, rejected a $5 million dollar settlement with New York City last week, according to someone with inside knowledge of the deal brokered by Comptroller Scott Stringer, reports the New York Daily News. 

The Garner family has plans to sue the city for more money, to the tune of $75 million, although Jonathan Moore, the family’s attorney, has advised them to accept the city’s original settlement offer. While wrongful death settlements have been tendered pretty frequently over the last decade–look no further than Amadou Diallo or Anthony Baez–no sum of money paid to a family has ever eclipsed, or even reached, $5 million.

Even so, the Garner family won’t capitulate. Speaking to the News, Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, said that Pantaleo’s non-indictment served as a precedent for more cops who’ve gone on to kill unarmed black men across the country this year.

“It seems like because they didn’t prosecute the officers on Staten Island, all the other officers were like, ‘Hell. We’ll get away with it. Let’s just do it again,’” she said, invoking recent slayings of Walter Scott in South Carolina and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland.

Garner was stopped for selling loose cigarettes in his Staten Island neighborhood in June of last year. His death helped to catalyze the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer. His final words, “I can’t breathe,” have now been emblazoned on T-shirts worn by famous athletes, and chanted at rallies around the country.

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