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Black and Brown Lives Matter: Cases of Police Killings and Assaults


Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man, was approached by police in New York City on July 17, 2014, on a suspicion of him selling loose cigarettes.  After a verbal exchange, there is bystander video footage of a police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, putting Garner into a chokehold.  Chokeholds are banned by the New York Police Department (NYPD).  Even though the chokehold was not a proper use of force, a state grand jury declined to press criminal charges.  Five years later in 2019, after a long investigation, federal prosecutors also declined to press charges on civil rights grounds.  Both events sparked much protest, and Eric Garner's dying words - "I can't breathe" - became famous among protestors.  Pantaleo was fired in 2019 by the NYPD Commissioner.

Protestors holding signs after federal prosecution declined to bring charges against the police officer involved in Garner's death

Litigation/ Lawsuits

Garner's mother recently filed a lawsuit seeking a judicial inquiry into the NYC mayor's handling of the situation:

Gwen Carr et al v. Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York et al

A judge has confirmed that the family will be allowed to proceed with this litigation.  You can read that opinion here.

For public access to the docket, one can search the case number (No. 2021-00476) on PACER.  Public access to the opinion allowing the litigation to proceed can be found here.

Garner's family also settled a wrongful death lawsuit with New York City in 2015 and received a settlement amount of $5.9 million.