A former lawyer for Eric Garner‘s family is demanding his share of a $6.9 million legal settlement that relatives won in a civil suit against New York City after the Staten Island man died when an officer placed him in a chokehold.
The death was captured in a viral video.
TheStaten Island Advance reported Thursday that the law firm of Rubenstein and Rynecki filed court documents saying its lawyers deserve $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees.
The firm was canned by Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, after Sanford Rubenstein was accused of rape in 2015. Manhattan prosecutors have since dropped the charges. Rubenstein has filed a defamation suit against his accuser.
“I think we earned a certain percentage of the fee for the work and services performed, pursuant to our retainer agreement,” Scott Rynecki, who is Rubenstein’s law partner, told the Advance regarding the Garner case.
Garner, 43, an African-American father of six, died after NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is White, placed him in a banned chokehold on July 17, 2014. Police said Garner was selling loose cigarettes.
Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” have become the mantra of a movement against the use of deadly force by police in communities of color.