The family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man whose chokehold death at the hands of an NYPD officer last year helped touch off an ongoing movement against heavy-handed policing in America, has reached a $5.9 million settlement with the city of New York. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the agreement Monday night.
According to Stringer’s statement, the city has taken no responsibility for Garner’s death, which is typical in suits involving claims of police brutality.
His office issued this statement:
Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties. We are all familiar with the events that lead [sic] to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our City and our nation. It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve. 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.
According to the New York Times, the settlement is among the largest in the city’s history for a single individual in an alleged police misconduct case, and possibly the largest.
The one-year anniversary of Garner’s death, which came during an arrest for alleged sale of untaxed cigarettes, is on Friday.
Garner’s death, and a bystander’s video that captured it all in wrenching detail, prompted an immediate if limited outcry, with scattered demonstrations; Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conferences within a day to promise a full investigation.
But the relatively small protests following Garner’s death were soon eclipsed by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, just a few weeks later. What many saw as an extreme, overtly militarized response to those demonstrations in turn sparked a broader movement; the first major demonstration over Garner’s death came in August, only after Brown’s killing. When a grand jury, in December of 2014, declined to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer seen on film administering the chokehold, the outcry was reignited.
Erica Garner, Eric’s daughter, did not immediately return a message for comment by press time.
De Blasio’s office announced late Monday that the mayor “will deliver remarks at the Commission of Religious Leaders Interfaith Worship Service in memory of Eric Garner” on Tuesday night at Mt. Sinai United Christian Church on Staten Island.
Here’s a timeline of the past year, beginning with Garner’s death:
Jon Campbell is a staff writer for the Voice, covering criminal justice, legal issues, and the occasional mutant park squirrel. Tip him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @j0ncampbell.