New York City has entered into a settlement agreement with the family of Eric Garner for the amount of $5.9 million. The settlement is a strong indicator that the city acknowledges the wrongdoing of its officers in the death of Mr. Garner.
“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,” Scott Stringer, New York City comptroller, said.
Eric Garner died in July after being placed in an illegal chokehold by New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo. A group of officers were attempting to detain Garner for selling loose cigarettes and avoiding appropriate taxes. In video of Garner’s gruesome conflict with officers, Garner can be heard exclaiming to officers, repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!”
Garner died shortly following the encounter and a grand jury did not indict Pantaleo for his involvement.
The Medical Examiner’s office of New York City determined that Garner’s death was a homicide caused by the chokehold Pantaleo applied to Garner in conjunction with chest and neck compression while Garner was under physical restraint by officers.
Garner’s death occurred in close time to that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.. Together, the deaths of Garner and Brown sparked a national discussion of the tactics and discrimination in police organizations around the country.