Tag: New York City settlement

New York City Agrees to Pay Family of Eric Garner $5.9 Million

Mr. Garner and his wife, Esaw, during a family vacation in 2011. (Photo via nytimes.com)

New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July, the city comptroller and a lawyer for the family said.

The agreement, reached a few days before the anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death, headed off one legal battle even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.

Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk, and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. One of the officers used a chokehold — prohibited by the Police Department — to subdue him, and that was cited by the medical examiner as a cause of Mr. Garner’s death.

The killing of Mr. Garner, 43, followed by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, set off a national debate about policing actions in minority communities and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who used the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations. The protests eased after two police officers in Brooklyn were fatally shot in December by a man who said he acted to avenge Mr. Garner’s death.

The killings of the officers shook the city anew, deepening tensions between the police and Mayor Bill de Blasio and slowing a push to enact a host of criminal justice reforms. Last year, Mr. Garner’s relatives, including his widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carrfiled a notice of claim— a procedural step that must precede a lawsuit — against the city. In the notice, they said were seeking $75 million in damages. Since then, the family has been in talks with the comptroller’s office.

“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.”

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New York City to Pay Jonathan Fleming $6.25 Million for False Conviction and 25 Years in Prison

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Exonerated Man Jabbar Collins Reaches $10 Million Deal With New York City

Jabbar Collins, shown at his lawyer’s office in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday. (RUTH FREMSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

After three years of litigation, Jabbar Collins, a man who spent 16 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, has reached a $10 million settlement with New York City.

Mr. Collins had been convicted of the 1994 killing of an Orthodox rabbi. He was released from prison in 2010, when a federal judge vacated his conviction and criticized the district attorney’s office for its handling of Mr. Collins’s trial.

The case is notable because it exposed questionable policies under the former Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes. Along the way, Mr. Collins’s lawyer, Joel B. Rudin, deposed Mr. Hynes and his top assistants, providing a rare look at how a powerful district attorney ran his office.

Mr. Rudin accused the office of detaining reluctant witnesses in hotel rooms until they agreed to testify, and of advising its lawyers not to take notes when prosecution witnesses gave inconsistent statements to avoid potentially exculpatory evidence. The city’s lawyers have challenged these claims.

The settlement is also notable for its size: Mr. Collins will receive a little more than $600,000 per year served, about a third less than the five men exonerated in the Central Park jogger case, who settled with the city this summer for about $1 million for each year in prison.  The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial in October.

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5 Exonerated in Central Park Jogger Case Agree to Settle Suit for $40 Million

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Lawyers, in foreground, and the five defendants in the Central Park rape case of a female jogger waiting for the ruling in February 1990 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. (JAMES ESTRIN / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

The five men whose convictions in the brutal 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park were later overturned have agreed to a settlement of about $40 million from New York City to resolve a bitterly fought civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment in the sensational crime.

The agreement, reached between the city’s Law Department and the five plaintiffs, would bring to an end an extraordinary legal battle over a crime that came to symbolize a sense of lawlessness in New York, amid reports of “wilding” youths and a marauding “wolf pack” that set its sights on a 28-year-old investment banker who ran in the park many evenings after work.

The confidential deal, disclosed by a person who is not a party in the lawsuit but was told about the proposed settlement, must still be approved by the city comptroller and then by a federal judge.

The initial story of the crime, as told by the police and prosecutors, was that a band of young people, part of a larger gang that rampaged through Central Park, had mercilessly beaten and sexually assaulted the jogger. The story quickly exploded into the public psyche, fanned by politicians and sensational news reports that served to inflame racial tensions.

The five black and Hispanic men, ages 14 to 16 at the time of their arrests, claimed that incriminating statements they had given had been coerced by the authorities. The statements were ruled admissible, and the men were convicted in two separate trials in 1990.

In December 2002, an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, found DNA and other evidence that the woman had been raped and beaten not by the five teenagers but by another man, Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer who had confessed to acting alone in the attack. Concluding that the new evidence could have changed the original verdict, Mr. Morgenthau’s office joined a defense motion asking that the convictions be vacated.

If approved, the settlement would fulfill a pledge by Mayor Bill de Blasio to meet a “moral obligation to right this injustice.”

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The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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