Stanley Streeter (seen above in an undated family photo), 36, died while in police custody in Staten Island on March 16, 2010
New York City has agreed to pay $1.5million to settle a lawsuit brought by the fiancé of a man who died while in police custody, the New York Daily News reported on Thursday.
Stanley Streeter suffocated to death while handcuffed and lying face down on the side of a road in Staten Island on March 16, 2010.
The incident took place less than a mile away from the spot where Eric Garner would die four years later while being held by police in a chokehold.
Streeter’s case did not attract nearly the attention that Garner’s did because there are no pictures or video footage of the incident.
Garner’s arrest was caught on film by cell phones nearby and went viral on social media, sparking a widespread backlash.
Garner was filmed saying ‘I can’t breathe’ as he was placed in a chokehold by a New York police officer. Streeter was heard saying the same thing just moments before his death.
Last year, Garner’s family was paid $5.9million by the city in an out-of-court settlement.
Streeter’s fiancé took the city to federal court, filing a lawsuit alleging that the police used excessive force.
“Like Garner, Stanley screamed that he couldn’t breathe when multiple police officers held him on the ground in a face down position for 30 minutes while they waited for the Emergency Services Unit,” the family’s attorney, Brett Klein, told the Daily News.
“While the police department did not mete out any punishment whatsoever for the misconduct in this case, the settlement reflects a small measure of justice and closure for Mr. Streeter’s grieving family,” Klein said.
Streeter’s death occurred less than a mile from where Eric Garner (seen bottom left and right), a father of six, died after being held in a chokehold by an NYPD officer
The chain of events that led to Streeter’s death is in dispute.
On March 16, 2010, Streeter, 36, who was admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to a mental breakdown, was being rushed to another hospital after he was suffering from high blood pressure.
During the ambulance ride, he had freed himself from the gurney and stepped out of the vehicle.
Police said that it took an ‘immense struggle’ for them to subdue Streeter, but a witness says that two officers were holding him face down to the ground as he was pleading with them, saying: ‘I can’t breathe, man, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.’
“There were two police over him; one had his knee on (Streeter’s) lower back and the other one had the knee on his neck,” the witness, Marvin Liverman, testified in a sworn deposition.
An autopsy report showed that Streeter had suffered a broken tooth and other blunt impact injuries.
Soil and dirt was also found between his teeth and eyes as well as other areas of his face.
The medical examiner, however, ruled the death accidental, blaming it on hypertensive cardiovascular disease complicated by paranoid schizophrenia, agitation, and delusions.
A municipal official told the Daily News that settling the lawsuit was in the best interests of the city.