The D.C. government agreed to pay $200,000 yesterday to the family of a Brooklyn man who suffocated in 1988 after several D.C. police officers used force trying to arrest him.

The D.C. Medical Examiner's Office had ruled the death of Darren C. Taylor, 24, a homicide and said Taylor died as a result of compression of his chest and abdominal area.

Police said Taylor died in their custody early Aug. 12, 1988, during what they described as a struggle by five officers to subdue him after he jumped into a police cruiser. Taylor, according to one officer, had been involved in an altercation with two men and was seeking a ride to the hospital.

According to police statements filed in a lawsuit brought by Taylor's family, the officers said they pulled the 130-pound Taylor out of the cruiser, flipped him on his chest onto the pavement, sat on his legs and pressed their knees into his back in an attempt to handcuff him.

When Taylor appeared to stop struggling, the officers called an ambulance, which took several minutes to arrive, according to Stephanie Duncan-Peters, co-counsel for the Taylor family.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to bring charges against the officers, and no disciplinary action was taken.

A spokesman for the Office of the Corporation Counsel said the District was making no admission of responsibility in settling the case.