Eric Garner's Family Files Notice of Claim for $75 Million Civil Suit Against NYC, NYPD

The family of Eric Garner has filed a notice of claim to sue the city and the NYPD for $75 million, alleging that "negligence, recklessness and carelessness" on the part of police resulted in his chokehold death last July.

The notice was filed by the law firm of Rubenstein and Rynecki Tuesday, and names several police officers whose identities had not been previously released.

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died on Staten Island while being arrested by police for allegedly selling single, untaxed cigarettes. The videotaped confrontation, which shows an officer placing him in a chokehold -- which is banned by the NYPD -- sparked public outrage. 

Four EMS workers employed by the Richmond University Medical Center were suspended without pay after Garner's death. The civil lawsuit does not mention any medical personnel by name. 

The city comptroller's office and the city Law Department said they were reviewing the notice of claim. The NYPD did not immediately comment. 

The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, finding that the chokehold killed him and that asthma, obesity and high blood pressure were contributing factors. 

A grand jury has started to hear evidence in the case to determine whether there will be criminal charges. 

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, has insisted the officer used a takedown move — not a chokehold — that's taught by the police department.

Pantaleo and other NYPD officers stopped Garner on the street on July 17 on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. A video shot by an onlooker that went viral online shows Garner telling the officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed.

Pantaleo responded by appearing to put him in a chokehold, which is banned under police policy. The heavyset Garner, who had asthma, is heard gasping, "I can't breathe." He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Sanford Rubenstein, the attorney representing the Garner family, is under a separate sexual assault investigation. No charges have been filed against him. 

Rev. Al Sharpton, who has also been working with the Garners, said the notice of claim was filed Tuesday in order to meet a deadline, and that it had nothing to do with the allegations against Rubenstein. He said the family would make an announcement about its legal representation during Saturday's weekly rally at Sharpton's Harlem headquarters.

Sharpton runs the National Action Network and is a talk-show host on MSNBC, which is owned by WNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal.

-- Andrew Siff contributed to this report. Follow Andrew Siff on Twitter @andrewsiff4NY

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