The family of Eric Garner is taking action against the New York Police Department and the city of New York as they plan to file a $75 million lawsuit against both parties for the death of their loved one, the family revealed Tuesday.
Garner was the 43-year-old Staten Island man who was placed in a NYPD-banned chokehold by a plain-clothes officer back in July.
Garner was being arrested for selling cigarettes, and the entire incident was caught on video.
A nearby witness recorded the arrest with a cellphone and captured Garner repeatedly telling the swarm of officers he couldn’t breathe as they took him to the ground.
He later died at Richmond University Medical Center.
Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner; their six children; and his mother, Gwen Carr, are now prepared to make the city and the officers pay for what happened.
The lawsuit will name the NYPD, the city of New York and eight specific officers as defendants in the civil case.
The officers named in the case include Craig Furlani, Christopher Maldonado, William Meems and Mark Ramos.
The identities of two other officers have not been released.
While all eight of the officers did not physically take part in the chokehold, the family explained that they hold them responsible for not stopping the officer from using the prohibited tactic.
“In addition, the officers present when the banned chokehold was used failed to stop the use of this banned maneuver so as to become tacit collaborators,” the family said in the notice.
The civil suit will claim that the police not only violated Garner’s rights, but also that New York policing policies contributed to his death.
They specifically drew attention to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s crime-fighting plan, which includes something called the “broken windows” policy.
According to the New York Daily News, this policy “emphasizes an aggressive policing of quality-of-life offenses” and encouraged the officers to be more forceful with Garner than was necessary.
The family sent a notice to city Controller Scott Stringer who announced that the claims are under review.
Meanwhile, the family will have some serious decisions to make regarding their legal representation.
The notice of claim was signed and sent to Stringer’s officer by Sanford Rubenstein, who is currently representing the family.
On Sunday and Monday, however, serious allegations surfaced against Rubenstein.
Rubenstein is now under investigation on allegations that he raped a woman in his Manhattan penthouse, the New York Daily News reported.
Civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton made a statement on Tuesday to inform the public that the family did not know about the allegations prior to bringing Rubenstein in as their legal representative.
“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 [the Monday deadline], he said. “We must protect the family’s rights. No one should read anything else into it.”
Sharpton says the family plans to make an announcement regarding their legal representation on Saturday at a National Action Network rally.