George Floyd family receives historic civil rights ‘wrongful loss of life’ settlement

George Floyd’s family members: Brandon Williams (nephew), Philonise Floyd (eldest brother), and Rodney Floyd (youngest brother)

Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci, L. Chris Stewart, Jeff Storms, and other co-counsel on behalf of George Floyd’s family and City of Minneapolis officials have announced the settlement of a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis the four officers who will attend Involved Mr. Floyd’s death.

The $ 27 million settlement is the largest pre-trial settlement in an unlawful death case in US history.

It includes $ 500,000 that will be used to improve the 38th St. & Chicago Ave. business district where George Floyd died.

The legal team praised the police reforms the city passed after Floyd’s death and pledged support for further reforms.

“George Floyd’s terrible death, witnessed by millions of people around the world, sparked a deep longing and undeniable demand for justice and change,” Crump said in a press release.

“That the largest pre-trial death settlement ever would be for a black’s life is a strong message that black lives matter and that police brutality against people of color must end.”

Following Floyd’s death, the city of Minneapolis passed extensive police reforms, including extensive coverage of the use of violence, an obligation to keep body-worn cameras on at all times, a policy for civil servants to de-escalate non-threatening encounters with citizens by detaching or leaving, and recruiting officers based on a holistic assessment that favors those who live in the areas in which they are police officers and who have experience in social services.

“We are encouraged by both the ongoing police reforms that have already been passed and the ambitious changes that Minneapolis city leaders hope to create,” said Romanucci.

“After Minneapolis is tragically identified with George Floyd, he will be remembered for the ongoing changes that can lead the nation in reforming and reshaping the relationship between police and color communities.”

Even as the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin progresses and the family awaits justice in the criminal courts, the settlement conveys a level of justice that is meaningful, important and necessary, said L. Chris Stewart, attorney.

“It provides a way forward for our customers and ensures that George Floyd’s death leads to substantial, positive change.”

The federal lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Minnesota District on July 15, 2020 on behalf of Minnesota plaintiff Kaarin Nelson Schaffer, who has been appointed trustee of the Floyd family.

The complaint named the city as the party responsible for the Minneapolis Police Department with which the city performs its police functions.

The defendants also included Minneapolis Police Officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.

According to the press release, the lawsuit stated that they were acting in their individual capacity and / or the color of state law and in the context of their employment.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 at around 8 p.m. in the 3700 Block of South Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis.

“He died undercover in the street, handcuffed and indulgent, no violent crime and no threat to anyone. He slowly died under the weight of Minneapolis police officers Chauvin, Lane and Kueng, “the lawyers said.

While Floyd was illegally held in this dangerous prone position and Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck, Thao not only stood idly by and did nothing to help Floyd, but actively prevented onlookers from interfering with the unlawful death before their eyes, the lawyers argued .

They said Floyd died and begged for help. He cannot breathe, beg for his life and ask for his mother.

The complaint found that Mr Floyd had been deprived of his clearly established rights under state law, which are guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

“Our family is grateful for all of those who care so deeply about George’s life and loss, and this agreement is a necessary step for all of us to achieve a closure,” said Floyd’s brother Rodney Floyd.

“George’s legacy to those who loved him will always be his optimism that things can get better, and we hope this agreement does just that – that it makes things a little better in Minneapolis and a light for the communities resides across the country. ”

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