The family of Eric Garner, who died in a police chokehold in July, announced its intention to file a $75 million wrongful death lawsuit, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Police officers arrested Eric Garner on July 17 for selling untaxed cigarettes before wrestling him to the ground. The 43-year-old, who repeatedly told the officers, “I can’t breathe,” died hours later at a local hospital.
Filed by Eric Garner’s widow, Esaw, their six children and his mother, Gwen Carr, the claim names the city of New York, the Police Department and several other officers as defendants.
Also included in the claim are the findings of the city’s medical examiner, who declared the death a homicide and determined that Garner died from a chokehold and the compression of his chest by police officers.
According to the NY Daily News, the civil suit will argue that the police violated Garner’s civil rights by “negligently and recklessly” putting him in a department-banned chokehold while arresting him.
“The filing of the Notice of Claim by the Garner family was planned to protect their right to a lawsuit before the time to file expired,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement Tuesday.
Sharpton also addressed the controversy surrounding the Garner family’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, and said they would soon be making a decision on how to move forward. The 70-year-old civil rights attorney is under investigation on recent allegations he raped a woman who works for Sharpton’s National Action Network.
"We will make this announcement with the family on Saturday at NAN's weekly Saturday action rally,” Sharpton said. "Being that the allegations against Mr. Rubenstein just surfaced on Sunday and Monday, it is clear whatever we would have decided to do could not have been decided or changed by yesterday [the deadline date.] We must protect the family's rights. No one should read anything else into it.”
BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images)