‘That is their blood’: Civil rights lawyer Crump fights for George Floyd’s family

(Reuters) – As the world follows the often emotional testimony of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, members of Floyd’s family are watching a live feed in a separate room in the courthouse at.

Often at her side is civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who leads the family’s legal team.

Floyd and his brothers often slept in the same bed as children, with Floyd playing the role of protector, Crump says.

“This is a case for us. It’s a cause. It’s a hashtag, ”Crump told Reuters. “For her … it’s her family. This is their blood. “

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died after the white chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. His death, recorded on video by viewers, sparked protests around the world against racism and police brutality.

Chauvin, who has been imprisoned for up to 40 years for murder and manslaughter, has pleaded not guilty.

The case is well-known terrain for Crump, who is often called upon to represent the families of murdered African Americans in civil suits, including Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was shot dead by a neighborhood security guard in 2013, and Breonna Taylor, who was killed during a botched police operation died raid.

Crump, 51, who grew up in rural North Carolina and attended segregated schools for most of elementary school, sees his role as a civil rights advocate bringing media attention to black victims who the U.S. Constitution may otherwise not Get “full justice”.

Large juries seldom indict police officers for killing a suspect on duty in the United States, especially if the victim is black, legal experts say.

FILE PHOTO: Floyd family attorney Ben Crump and members of the Floyd family walk outside Hennepin County Government Center on the seventh day of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Minnesota, USA, April 6, 2021. REUTERS / Nicholas Pfosi

“What we are doing is continuing to make the case in front of the public opinion court,” said Crump. “The court is not very kind to marginalized minorities.”

With this in mind, Crump often resorts to civil litigation.

It was Crump who helped the Floyd family sue the city of Minneapolis, resulting in a $ 27 million settlement he has described as the largest pre-trial settlement of an unlawful death lawsuit in US history.

The agreement, which was reached two weeks before the start of the trial, was criticized for its possible influence on the selection of the jury for the criminal case, also by the judge, who described it as “unhappy”.

Crump dismissed the criticism, saying that white families often receive civil settlements before the criminal justice system in similar cases.

“It’s just that blacks hardly ever get large civilian settlements,” he said. “We see all statistics tell us that our white brothers and sisters are more into civil judgments and civil settlements than minorities in America, and so we have to say that black lives matter.”

So far, Crump has said he was satisfied with the prosecution’s presentation on the Chauvin case and said several witnesses, including senior police officers, who described Chauvin’s use of violence as excessive, had provided meaningful testimony.

He sharply criticized the defense’s attempt to attribute Chauvin’s use of force to the crowd around him at the time of Floyd’s arrest, calling him “asinine”. The defense has argued that Floyd may have died from a drug overdose.

The defense is “getting desperate,” said Crump. “And I pray and believe that the jury can see through that.”

The case against Chauvin could go to the jury for decision as early as next week. Even if the jury continues to hear arguments, Crump takes over the cloak for other cases.

Crump appeared at a press conference in Houston on Thursday to announce an unlawful death lawsuit against Pamela Turner’s family. Turner, a black woman suffering from mental illness, was shot dead by a police officer outside her apartment complex.

“We deserve better policing than this,” Crump said.

Like the lawyers of many plaintiffs in the United States, Crump operates on an emergency basis. Crump’s office did not answer questions about the payment in the Floyd case, but plaintiffs’ attorneys often received around a third of the settlement amount.

Reporting from Makini Brice in Washington; additional coverage from Jonathan Allen in Minneapolis; Adaptation by Noeleen Walder and Sonya Hepinstall

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