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$75 Million Suit Over NYC Chokehold Death Planned

In this July 19, 2014, file photo, Esaw Garner, center, wife of Eric Garner, breaks down in the arms of Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Rev. Al Sharpton, right, during a rally at the National Action Network headquarters for Eric Garner in New York. The city medical examiner ruled that Garner died as a result of a police chokehold during an attempted arrest. Garner's family has filed a notice of claim to sue New York City, the Police Department and six individual police officers for $75 million on Monday, Oct. 6. The notice is the first step toward suing the city over Garner's death on Staten Island in July. A spokesman for city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday, Oct. 7 the claim is under review. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
In this July 19, 2014, file photo, Esaw Garner, center, wife of Eric Garner, breaks down in the arms of Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Rev. Al Sharpton, right, during a rally at the National Action Network headquarters for Eric Garner in New York. The city medical examiner ruled that Garner died as a result of a police chokehold during an attempted arrest. Garner’s family has filed a notice of claim to sue New York City, the Police Department and six individual police officers for $75 million on Monday, Oct. 6. The notice is the first step toward suing the city over Garner’s death on Staten Island in July. A spokesman for city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday, Oct. 7 the claim is under review. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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