Professor J. Amy Dillard was interviewed July 15 for a HuffPost Live segment about New York City’s recently announced $5.9 million settlement with the family of Eric Garner. Garner died a year ago after an encounter with police, who apprehended him because he was allegedly selling cigarettes illegally. Cell-phone video of the fatal July 2014 encounter shows Garner, who was black, being held on the ground in an apparent chokehold by a police officer; Garner can also be heard repeatedly yelling, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!”
In response to a question from host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani about the specific amount of the settlement, Dillard said settlements often reflect the amount of insurance coverage that a jurisdiction possesses to cover such cases. While Dillard said she did not know if the New York City comptroller’s settlement reflected the amount of an insurance policy, she noted that the $5.9 million settlement in the Garner case was roughly in line with settlements in two other high-profile police misconduct cases in New York: The family of Amadou Diallo, who was shot and killed by police in 1999, received $3 million, while Abner Louima, who was brutally beaten and sodomized by police in 1997, received $8.75 million.
The other guests on the HuffPost Live segment were Cheryl Dorsey, a retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant, and Marq Claxton, director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.