How much is a life worth?
The family of Eric Garner have said that no one can put a price on their loved one’s life.
They’re right about that.
But the family has come to an agreement with the City of New York as to how much money they will receive for a wrongful death claim in the death of Mr. Garner – $5.9 Million.
This settlement resolves the wrongful death claim but could never resolve the wrongful death.
The family, including his mother and widow filed a claim notifying the city that they intended to sue the city for $75 Million.
It has been one year since Mr. Garner died and this video went viral.
“Put your hands behind your back. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe.”
That was New York City police officers in Staten Island taking down Eric Garner while he struggle to say those now infamous words, “I can’t breathe.”
Garner was not given oxygen or minimal, if any, medical treatment while lying, handcuffed, motionless on the ground.
A private hospital is responsible for sending the responders to the scene.
That hospital, Richmond University Medical Center, has reportedly already settled with the family for an undisclosed amount of money.
Garner’s death set off protests against police brutality in New York City.
But it wasn’t until the Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri nearly one month later that protesters became more organized and took Eric Garner’s story national along with Brown’s.
Now one year later, New City’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer has announced the settling of the Garner claim.
According to the New York Times, it is one of the biggest settlements so far in the comptroller’s strategy to “settle major civil rights claims even before a lawsuit is filed,” thus saving taxpayers money and families from a lengthy, painful legal process.
The settlement still does not offer any new insight into how Garner and other unarmed black men have died in recent years at the hands of NYPD officers.
Again I ask, how much is a life worth?
I don’t believe even the Garner family can answer that question, because no amount of money can take away the kind of pain that comes from losing a loved one suddenly and for what appears to be no good reason.