NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who was placed in a police chokehold in July and died, will sue the city of New York as well as the NYPD for $75 million plus attorneys' fees, according to a notice of claim filed Monday.
The notice of claim names the city, NYPD, Officer Daniel Pantaleo — the officer who put Garner in the apparent chokehold -- and a number of other police officers as defendants.
The notice states claims including wrongful death, assault, battery and negligent training and supervision among the NYPD officers as well as violation of civil rights and wrongful imprisonment.
Representing the family in the past was Sanford Rubenstein, who is currently under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman after the Rev. Al Sharpton's 60th birthday party last week. Both Rubenstein and his accuser attended the star-studded event at the Four Seasons Hotel New York last Wednesday.
In a statement from the National Action Network released Tuesday, Sharpton said he plans to announce the lawsuit with Garner's family at Saturday's weekly NAN rally.
"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 yesterday (the deadline date.) We must protect the family's rights. No one should read anything else into it," the statement reads.
What was unsaid in the statement, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported, is that Rubenstein is about to be shown the door.
Family Of Eric Garner To Sue City, NYPD For $75M
A grand jury is currently deciding whether there should be criminal charges in the case.
In cellphone video of the incident, an officer is seen placing his arm around Garner's neck and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed. He had been stopped by police for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
Garner is heard saying repeatedly, "I can't breathe!" He died a short time later.
The New York City medical examiner's office ruled Garner's death a homicide, caused by the officer's apparent chokehold as well as chest and neck compressions and prone positioning "during physical restraint by police."
In September, an independent forensic investigator hired by the Garner family agreed with the medical examiner's findings.
"Compression of the neck that prevents breathing, for example, trumps everything else," forensic pathologist Michael Baden said.
While the family says the findings confirm Garner's death was caused by an apparent police chokehold, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch has said otherwise, CBS 2's Alice Gainer reported.
"The type of compression and damage is consistent with life-saving techniques EMS or emergency room technicians would do in a situation like this," he said. "It's consistent with that, not consistent with a chokehold."
Lynch also disputes Pantaleo ever put Garner in a chokehold.
"One arm of the police officer under the armpit of the individual they're taking down and the other arm over the shoulder," Lynch told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman. "That's exactly what you see, and it matches up to our training videos for a takedown maneuver."
Pantaleo has been stripped of his badge and gun since the incident. Another officer was also put on modified duty.
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