Mayor Bill de Blasio says the death of an unarmed black man who was held in a police chokehold wasn't in vain, and could help change the relationship between police officers and the communities they patrol.

De Blasio spoke Tuesday night at a church service in honor of Eric Garner.

The city on Monday reached a $5.9 million settlement with Garner's family over his July 2014 death. His family said they would continue pressing for federal civil rights charges.

The city medical examiner found the police chokehold contributed to Garner's death. But a lawyer for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, said the officer used a permissible takedown maneuver known as a seatbelt — not a chokehold, banned under New York Police Department policy.

A grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo.