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NYC Settles Suit in Death by a Cop

October 3, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The city has agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle lawsuits filed by the family of a man choked to death by a police officer.

Anthony Baez was playing touch football in the street with his brothers in December 1994 when an errantly thrown ball struck Francis Livoti’s patrol car. The officer tried to stop the game, and Baez, 29, of Orlando, Fla., died in the ensuing struggle.

The Police Department ruled he used an illegal chokehold to subdue Baez.

As part of the settlement, the city admits no liability in Baez’s death, lawyers for both sides said.

``It’s been a long struggle, and God knows that the Baez family has been through a lot,″ the family’s lawyer, Susan Karten, said Thursday.

Livoti was acquitted in 1996 of negligent homicide by a judge who called conflicting police testimony a ``nest of perjury″ but said there was not enough evidence to convict.

But Livoti was fired from the force, and in June he was convicted of violating Baez’s civil rights in federal court. Sentencing in that case is set for next week.

Livoti’s defense argued during the criminal trial that the former officer never used a chokehold during the arrest and that Baez died from an asthma attack.

``The city feels it is appropriate to put this unfortunate incident to rest,″ said Michael Hess, New York’s corporation counsel.

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