KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The family of a man who died after being placed in a police chokehold has filed a notice of claim to sue the city, its police department and six officers for $75 million.
Eric Garner’s family filed the notice, the first legal step toward suing over the 43-year-old’s death, on Monday.
A spokesman for city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday that the claim is under review. The city’s Law Department said it will review the claim thoroughly. The New York Police Department did not immediately comment on the notice of claim.
Garner, who was unarmed, was stopped by police on Staten Island on July 17 on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
A video shot by an onlooker shows Garner telling the officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed.
An officer responded by putting Garner in a chokehold, which is banned under police policy. Garner, who had asthma, is heard gasping, “I can’t breathe.” He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
The city medical examiner found that the police chokehold contributed to Garner’s death. A grand jury will determine whether criminal charges are filed.
Garner’s death has sparked protests including an Aug. 23 march on Staten Island that drew thousands of people demanding justice.
The notice of claim was filed by the law firm of Sanford Rubenstein, who is being investigated by detectives after a woman accused him of rape.
The accuser said the attack happened when she went back to Rubenstein’s Manhattan apartment following a 60th birthday party last week for the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Rubenstein, through his lawyer, has denied any criminal conduct.
Sharpton, who has championed the Garner family’s pleas for justice, said Tuesday that the fact Rubenstein’s name is on the notice of claim does not necessarily mean that Rubenstein will be the family’s attorney going forward.
Sharpton said in a statement that the notice of claim filing was planned to protect the family’s right to file a lawsuit before the deadline to file expires.
He said the family would make an announcement about its legal representation during Saturday’s weekly rally at his Harlem headquarters.
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