*As we reported earlier, Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who was killed by NYPD officers with an illegal chokehold in July of 2014, turned down a settlement offer by the city of $5 million dollars.
Now the NY Times is reporting that the two sides have reached an agreement. Late Monday the family and the city agreed to a payment of $5.9 million to resolve the claim, according to a lawyer representing the family.
The agreement, reached days before the deadline to file suit in the death, appeared to be among the biggest reached so far as part of a strategy by the city comptroller, Scott C. 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.
Last year, Mr. Garner’s relatives, including his widow, Esaw Garner, and with his mother, Gwen Carr, filed a notice of claim — a procedural step that must precede a lawsuit against the city — seeking $75 million in damages. Mr. Garner died on July 17 after a police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, placed him in a chokehold during an arrest as other officers wrestled him to the ground. The confrontation was captured in a cellphone video taken by a bystander.
Even though Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, citing the chokehold and the compression of Mr. Garner’s chest by the police, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo.
Jonathan C. Moore, the lawyer for Mr. Garner’s family, said the city had until Friday, the anniversary of the death, to come to an agreement. If none had been reached, a suit would have been filed.
“The City of New York has agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve the Garner case,” Mr. Moore said.
The death of Garner, a father of six who was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes and was unarmed at the time, fueled protests over police killings of black men. His final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying cry.
You can get MORE of this New York Times story at MSN.com.