It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York City Police officers. While Garner was far from the first black man killed by police, it was the first videotaped death to attract national media attention.
Garner was guilty of no more than selling illegal cigarettes on the street. Yes, he broke the law, but it’s not a crime worthy of the death penalty. The video shows a NY police officer choking Garner and refusing to let go, despite the fact that Garner was saying that he couldn’t breathe.
Here’s the video:
Conservatives claimed that Garner brought it on himself by breaking the law or that his size contributed to his death. The City of New York disagrees. On Monday, a settlement was reached with Garner’s family and the city in which the city will be paying $5.9 million. The catch? No officers are being held accountable.
If you recall, Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who was seen choking Garner, didn’t even stand trial. A jury refused to indict. Fortunately, civil cases have a lower standard of proof (actually the standard of proof for a grand jury trial is really low too, especially since the defense doesn’t even speak). The family sought $75 million in damages, so the $5.9 settlement is quite a step down for the wealthiest city in the world.
Mr. Garner’s death is a touchstone in our city’s history and in the history of the entire nation,” the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, said in a telephone interview late on Monday. “Financial compensation is certainly not everything, and it can’t bring Mr. Garner back. But it is our way of creating balance and giving a family a certain closure.
Source: New York Times
While prosecutors could theoretically go after the NYPD and Pantaleo on criminal charges again, it’s highly unlikely. For now, though, Pantaleo is “suffering” on fully paid desk duty. He also claims he’s been receiving death threats and that he’s loathed by some of his neighbors. Unlike Garner, though, Pantaleo is alive, free, and he has a job.
Featured image via video screen capture.