New York City and its Transit Authority agreed Aug. 28 to pay $1.7 million to settle a lawsuit alleging transit police officers were responsible for the death of a 25-year-old graffiti artist in 1983. The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, stems from the death of Michael Stewart, who was arrested by transit police for allegedly writing graffiti on subway walls.

About 15 minutes after the arrest, the officers brought Mr. Stewart to a hospital. He was bruised, bloody, and comatose. He died 13 days later without ever regaining consciousness.

The suit alleged that the officers brutally beat the young man and then concealed their role in his death.

``There is no admission of any wrongdoing by any transit police officer in this suit,'' said Barry Agulnick, one of the lawyers representing the officers. But James Meyerson, one of the Stewart family lawyers, disagreed. ``They didn't do it out of the goodness of their hearts,'' he said.

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