Schenectady Corporation Council to continue negotiations in Kearse wrongful death lawsuit

July 22, 2019 11:11 PM

SCHENECTADY - Schenectady Common Council is taking steps to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city's police department.

Angelique Negroni-Kearse, the widow of Andrew Kearse, is suing after her husband died of cardiac arrhythmia while in custody in May 2017, though he repeatedly asked for medical attention.


On Monday Common Council voted to allow the Corporation Council to continue settlement negotiations. The move allows the City Attorney to avoid going back and forth between the parties involved and the council during proceedings and negotiations.

Kearse, 36, was pulled over in Schenectady for driving erratically, but ultimately ended up fleeing on foot. He was stopped and taken into custody.

Kearse was in the back of the police vehicle when he started having trouble breathing, reportedly asking for medical help dozens of times before becoming unresponsive.

The New York State Attorney General's Office investigated Kearse's death. The AG's report found Kearse had a preexisting medical condition and that there was a narrow window in which he could have received life-saving medical attention.

However, a cardiologist said that would have been tough for an officer to recognize the severity of Kearse's symptoms. The AG's office also recommended revisions to the Schenectady Police Department's policies.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to the department for comment on what is being done to implement or review those recommendations. The department spokesman couldn't comment due to pending litigation.

The two parties were previously unable to come to an agreement. Though Sanford Rubenstein, the attorney representing Negroni-Kearse, said they'll consider any offer made to them.

Negroni-Kearse initially was asking the City of Schenectady for $25 million, but Rubenstein said now a jury may decide the settlement amount.

Councilman Vince Riggi said the city's contribution to the settlement will not exceed their $100,000 insurance deductible. Mayor Gary McCarthy said the city has $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 policies.

McCarthy will ultimately have to give final approval on a settlement amount. That's if the city, insurance company and Negroni-Karse can reach an agreement. McCarthy said he couldn't speak to much else about the proceedings except that he hopes they can all work it out.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates.


Emily Burkhard

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