HARLEM — The family of Eric Garner said Tuesday that their $5.9 million settlement with the city over the Staten Island man's death after he was placed in a chokehold by police does not equal justice and that they want the officers responsible held accountable.
"They deserve to be prosecuted," Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, said at the headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network in Harlem. "They treated my husband like an animal. I think they give animals more respect than humans."
Garner, 43, died after police attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on July 17, 2014. The encounter, captured on video, shows police dragging Garner to the ground.
One officer, Daniel Pantaleo, used a chokehold during the encounter. The maneuver is banned under police department policy.
Garner said "I can't breathe" 11 times on the video. The medical examiner said that a chokehold helped cause Garner's death. The family originally filed a $75 million wrongful death notice of claim against the city.
Sharpton on Tuesday called the encounter "brutal and unexcusable."
The incident, along with others, helped sparked national protests over the way black men are treated by police.
"The video of Eric Garner saying 'I can't breathe' 11 times is what spurred a movement," Sharpton said.
Speaking for the first time since Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the settlement late Monday, the family and Sharpton said they would continue with efforts to have federal prosecutors indict officer Pantaleo after a Staten Island grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against him last year.
"What does justice look like? When we get an indictment," said Garner's daughter Erica Garner.
Garner's mother Gwenn Carr said people on the street had been congratulating the family since the settlement was announced.
"Don't congratulate us. This is not a victory," she said. "The victory will come when we get justice."
The settlement with the city is one of two the family reached over Garner's death. Richmond University Medical Center, which handled Garner's medical care after the incident, also reached an undisclosed settlement with the family, a spokesman said.
A lawyer for the Garner family was not immediately available for comment.
Sharpton and the family left the press conference without taking questions. He spent much of the press conference disputing a notion he says was out there that he and the family were only interested in money.
With the anniversary of Garner's death approaching, Sharpton said the family will rally Saturday in front of the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
"Money is not justice," Sharpton said. "Money is a recognition of the loss of the family."
— Nicholas Rizzi contributed reporting.