Eric Garner's family got a little bit of closure today after a very difficult year. The City of New York has agreed to pay $5.9 million as a settlement to Garner's family to atone for his death at the hands of police on Staten Island last July.
Garner's final words, "I can't breathe," as an officer, Daniel Pantaleo, held him in a chokehold became the rallying cry for millions seeking justice for Black men and boys against police brutality. The incident was captured on a bystander's cell phone camera, painting a vivid picture of abuse of force. To the outrage of many, a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo for Garner's death.
The settlement was reached days before the deadline for Garner's family to file a lawsuit against the city, and, according to the New York Times, is a new strategy by city comptroller Scott M. Stringer to "save taxpayers the expense of a drawn-out trial and to give those bringing the suits and their families a measure of closure."
A notice of claim — a procedural step that precedes the filing of a lawsuit — filed last year by Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, and with his mother, Gwen Carr, sought $75 million in damages.
Watch BET.com's Samson Styles' commentary on the Garner case, below: