Minneapolis reaches settlement with George Floyd’s family for record $27M
The city of Minneapolis has settled a civil suit with the family of George Floyd for a record $27 million.
The settlement was unanimously approved by the Minneapolis City Council on Friday. It’s the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in American history.
“When George Floyd was horrifically killed on May 25, 2020, it was a watershed moment for America,” Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the Floyd family, said at a press conference with city Mayor Jacob Frey (D) and members of Floyd’s family on Friday afternoon. “It was one of the most egregious and shocking documentations of an American citizen being tortured to death by a police officer … having his knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.”
Crump filed the civil complaint last July against Minneapolis and the four police officers who were involved with Floyd’s death, arguing that the police department had “frequently” failed “to terminate or discipline officers who demonstrate patterns of misconduct.”
As captured by graphic cellphone footage, Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, even after Floyd was unconscious. Floyd pleaded with Chauvin multiple times, saying that he couldn’t breathe before becoming unresponsive; he was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.
At least $500,000 of the payment will go to revitalizing the 38th St. & Chicago Ave. community where Floyd was fatally restrained.
The killing sparked the revitalization of the Black Lives Matter movement, with nationwide protests calling for police reform and the end to systemic racism dominating last summer.
During his remarks, Crump said history will judge the “power of our actions,” noting he and Floyd’s family are “grateful” for the reforms that Minneapolis has already taken.
Since Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has implemented multiple policing changes, including the prohibition of chokeholds, an overhaul of its use of force policy and no longer allowing officers to turn off their body cams while responding to a call.
The city council in December also decided to cut $8 million from the police department’s budget, opting to use the funds for violence prevention and other social services.
The settlement comes as the criminal case for Chauvin, who is standing trial for Floyd’s murder, began jury selection this week.
He faces counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Six jurors have been selected so far for the high-profile case.
The other former officers who were on the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Their joint trial is slated to start in August.
Last week, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was first introduced in June following Floyd’s death.
If signed into law, the legislation would overhaul national policing standards on several levels.
Racial profiling at every level of law enforcement would be prohibited; chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants would be banned at the federal level; qualified immunity for officers would be overhauled and a national police misconduct registry would be created so officers who were fired for such discretions could not be hired by another police department.
Although the bill would not technically ban certain reforms such as chokeholds at a state and local level, it would tie in the new federal standards as thresholds for police departments to meet if they wanted to continue receiving federal aid.
While police reform is not a partisan issue, the bill received no Republican support in the House and is expected to face stiff opposition in the evenly split Senate.
—Updated at 4:04 p.m.