New York Will Pay Eric Garner Family $5.9 Million To Avoid Lawsuit
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Just under $6 million. That's how much New York City has agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Eric Garner. The settlement comes almost a year after Eric Garner died after police placed him in a chokehold during an arrest. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.
HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: There was no indictment by a grand jury after Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, died in police custody last July. He was being arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Garner's family planned to file a civil lawsuit against the city. And their lawyer, Jonathan Moore, says in a perfect world, they would've gone to trial.
JONATHAN MOORE: But this was a family that suffered greatly from this tragedy, and they need to move on in an environment where they don't have to worry about their day-to-day existence.
WANG: Moore says the $5.9 million dollars will help to support Garner's widow, mother and five children. But the settlement means the city does not admit liability for Garner's death.
SCOTT STRINGER: Mr. Garner's death is a touchstone in our city's history and in the history of the entire nation.
WANG: Scott Stringer, New York City's controller, negotiated the deal on the city's behalf. He says settling was in the city's best financial interest in a case that's forced the country to re-examine race and police-community relations.
STRINGER: This case certainly symbolized some of the trouble and the challenges that we face. But look, we have to get this right.
WANG: Eric Garner's family has also reached a separate settlement with the hospital that sent responders to the scene. That amount, though, is confidential. Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News, New York.