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Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Impact of the Garner Case on Police Misconduct in NYC

Q: What legal proceedings can follow a police misconduct allegation?

New York City police brutality and misconduct attorneys, as well as the rest of the nation, have been watching the case that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement work its way through the system for five years. 

In July, 2014, an African-American man named Eric Garner died while NYPD police were trying to arrest him. The man, suspected of illegally selling loose cigarettes, was reportedly put in a chokehold by a white officer during the police takedown which was captured on video. At one point during the scuffle, the suspect gasped, “I can’t breathe”. He died shortly thereafter. 

Alleged police brutality and misconduct cases often follow a certain pattern and this case was no exception. 

The pertinent five-year history of this case shows:

  • no criminal indictment by a grand jury;
  • no civil rights charges by the federal government; 
  • a civil lawsuit against the city that settled for almost $6 million; and now
  • an inter-departmental disciplinary hearing.

Civil lawsuits may be either personal injury actions brought by a victim or wrongful death actions usually brought by the closest surviving members of a victim who died from the injuries they sustained. If it can be proven that the defendant negligently, recklessly, or intentionally caused the victim’s injuries or death, compensatory damages may be awarded.

An administrative judge recommended that the officer be fired after an inter-departmental disciplinary hearing. The Police Commissioner must decide whether to follow the recommendation or spare the officer his job. Veiled threats from both camps of supporters pointed to significance of the Commissioner’s decision. On one hand, there may be civil unrest if he doesn’t fire the officer but on the other hand, there’s the possibility of “losing the department” if he doesn’t stand behind the officer. 

Contact Us Today If You Have Faced Police Misconduct or Brutality

If you or a loved one has been a victim of police misconduct or brutality, the Goldstein Law Firm can help you pursue legal action to obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

From our offices in the Bronx, New York, we represent those injured by the police or who suffered a personal injury in any accident, throughout New York City and New York State.


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