New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July…
The agreement, reached just a few days before the deadline to file suit, headed off one potentially fractious legal battle over Mr. Garner’s death even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.
Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city and the Police Department since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes.
The death of Mr. Garner, 43, followed by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, set off a national debate about policing actions in minority communities and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times as one officer held him in a chokehold, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations…
“The City of New York has agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve the Garner case,” said Jonathan C. Moore, the lawyer for Mr. Garner’s family…
The resolution is among the biggest reached so far as part of a strategy by the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, to settle major civil rights claims even before a lawsuit is filed. Mr. Stringer has said the aim is to save taxpayers the expense of a drawn-out trial and to give those bringing the suits and their families a measure of closure.
…The settlement did not provide any greater clarity on the actions of the officers that day or the policing strategies that have come under criticism in the year that has followed…
The city medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, citing the chokehold and the compression of Mr. Garner’s chest by other officers who held him down.
Several inquiries into Mr. Garner’s death were still pending, including investigations by the United States attorney’s office, the Civilian Complaint Review Board and state health officials, who are looking into the actions of emergency medical responders in treating Mr. Garner.
The Police Department has concluded its internal investigation but has yet to say whether any officers would be disciplined.
IMHO, the relationship between most American police departments and the communities they’re supposed to serve is a criminal farce. That criminality is doubled and tripled when victims are non-white and other minorities.
In general, too many coppers behave like they are above the law – they are judge, jury and executioner. And if a confrontation involves a non-white civilian the operative word is executioner.
Yes – there are good cops. I’ve known more than a few including members of my extended family. If they stand up for honest community relations, too often, they get screwed over for doing just that.