New York City reached a settlement of $5.9 million with the Garner family late on Monday, and dodged a wrongful death suit that could have climbed upwards of $75 million, Reuters reports.
Eric Garner was killed in Staten Island last July by way of a chokehold administered by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner’s death, along with New York City’s failure to indict officer Pantaleo, helped catalyze much of the Black Lives Matter Protests of last year. Garner’s final words “I can’t breathe,” have been chanted at rallies across the nation.
Last October, Garner’s family filed a claim of $75 million in damages against New York City, Reuters reports. Up until yesterday evening though, the family had rejected the city’s initial settlement offer of $5 million. Eric Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, had likened the city’s non-indictment of Pantaleo to a green-light for other cops across the country to kill unarmed black men.
“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 told the New York Daily News, invoking the recent slayings of Walter Scott in South Carolina and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who had helped broker the deal between the city and Garner family, said the $5.9 million settlement was “in the best interest of all parties,” Reuters reports.
Mayor de Blasio also issued a statement, saying “no sum of money can make this family whole, but hopefully the Garner family can find some peace and finality from today’s settlement.”
The Garner family has also reached a separate settlement with the hospital that dispensed emergency medical personal to the scene that failed to help Mr. Garner. Details of that settlement have not been made public as of yet, Reuters reports.
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