On July 17, 2014, several white New York City police officers, under the supervision of a black NYPD police sergeant named Kizzy Adoni, were involved in a takedown of a belligerent black man, Eric Garner, after he resisted arrest for selling “loose” cigarettes. One of the officers, Daniel Pantaleo, used a modified chokehold as part of the effort to get the 350lb Garner to the ground. That chokehold had been previously barred by NYPD policy because it caused prior injuries and deaths. Indeed, Garner died shortly after the takedown, though Pantaleo was not indicted. In part because the incident was caught on video it became a primary anecdote in the narrative about racist police enforcement. On Monday, New York City settled with Garner’s family for $5.9 million, just days before the anniversary of Garner’s death and the deadline for filing suit. The family had given notice of a $75 million suit, and the settlement is obviously the city’s effort to close the book on the story and to save taxpayers potentially many millions more dollars. The book isn’t closed across the country, however, as citizens and police departments grapple with what effective and proper law enforcement looks like in a very racially charged America.
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