U.S. News

NYC settles with Eric Garner's family for $5.9M

Elisha Fieldstadt
Eduard Baehler | Moment | Getty Images

New York City reached a $5.9 million settlement Monday with the family of Eric Garner, whose death after he was placed in a chokehold by a police officer sparked a public outcry, officials said.

Garner's family filed notice of a $75 million lawsuit against New York City and the New York Police Department last October, according to New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, who announced the settlement.

"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," Stringer said in a statement.

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Garner, 46, died on Staten Island on July 17, 2014, during an arrest for allegedly selling untaxed, single cigarettes.

The confrontation was caught on video in which Garner, who was asthmatic, could be heard saying, "I can't breathe," nearly a dozen times while he was placed in an apparent chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo.

His last words became a rallying cry for anti-police-brutality protesters in New York and all over the country.

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"We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our City and our nation," Stringer said. "It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve."

Stringer said that the settlement doesn't mean New York City has accepted liability for the death, but he believes the agreement "acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner's death while balancing my office's fiscal responsibility to the City."

Garner's death was ruled a homicide, but Pantaleo was cleared of any wrongdoing by a Staten Island grand jury in December. A U.S. Justice Department investigation into Garner's death is ongoing.