The family of Eric Garner was awarded $5.9 million today by the state of New York. This settlement was awarded for damages in the wrongful death of Mr. Garner in the famous “I can’t breathe” police chokehold incident. Mr. Garner died while being detained by police under allegations of selling untaxed cigarettes on July 17, 2014. This settlement comes in the wake of a surge of victims of police shootings and deaths in police custody.
The viral video of his detainment shows the unarmed, asthmatic victim repeatedly informing police that he can’t breathe before ultimately falling unconscious. No attempts were made to resuscitate Mr. Garner. By the time he received medical attention, he had gone into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at the hospital only an hour after his arrest.
This settlement arrives under the condition that the city doesn’t admit fault in the death of Mr. Garner, which has been ruled a homicide.
“This isn’t a victory,” said Garner’s widow to press. “Don’t congratulate us. I’m alone to deal with this for the rest of my life.”
The family will continue to press for federal investigation of the officer who administered the chokehold. The officer was initially cleared by a Staten Island grand jury, sparking a national uproar and heavy media attention to the case. Following the incident, the NYPD announced intentions to retrain all 35,000 officers currently serving on the force.
Several advocates of the NYPD in the Eric Garner case have released statements expressing distaste and disapproval at the settlement, including Sgt. Edward Mullins, who says “this settlement makes it appear as though the NYPD is totally responsible for Eric Garner’s death … What responsibility [do criminals] share because [they] were committing a minor crime?”
Union officials have spoken out against Mullins’ comments, saying they are not helpful to the city or the force.
Mr. Garner’s death contributed to a pop culture outcry about police abuse directed disproportionately at black males in the United States. The incident itself happened shortly after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri related to the death of Mike Brown.
The Law Offices of Michael S Lamonsoff has over 20 years of experience representing those who have had their civil rights violated by police. In the wake of this racial crisis, we have taken on a number of clients seeking justice for improper force, misconduct, and even police shootings. We devote tireless dedication and experienced civil rights attorneys to these cases, ensuring that our clients receive the compensation and justice they are owed.
If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of police misconduct, give our offices a call today at (212) 962-1020. You will be given a free, personal consultation with a qualified civil rights attorney to walk you through your rights and your options moving forward. You are always entitled to your civil rights, even when dealing with the police.