Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to pay George Floyd’s family a record $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit regarding his death in police custody.
The settlement includes a $500,000 contribution from Floyd’s family to the community at a location now widely known as George Floyd Square.
George Floyd’s family had filed a federal lawsuit in July against the city and the four officers involved in the arrest that led to his death. The lawsuit sought compensation and special damages in an amount to be determined by a jury, and bordered on issues on police policies and training.
They accused the officers of a “reckless disregard” of the father-of-five’s civil rights by the department engaging in “warrior-style” or “killology” training.
Council President Lisa Bender, who called for the abolishment of the city’s police department in the wake of his death, said the landmark settlement was because “our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”
“I do want to, on behalf of the entire City Council, offer my deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd, his friends and all in our community who are mourning his loss,” she said in a statement.
“No amount of money can ever address the intense pain or trauma caused by this death to George Floyd’s family or the people of our city.”
After an approximately 40-minute private meeting on Friday afternoon between City Council members, a unanimous decision was reached to award the Floyd family with the largest settlement ever seen in Minnesota.
Family attorney Ben Crump said: “When George Floyd was horrifically killed on May 25, 2020, it was a watershed moment for America.
“It was one of the most egregious and shocking documentations of an American citizen being tortured to death by a police officer…. one of the worst ever witnessed in history.”
“History will judge us for how we responded to this tragedy.”
Last year, former officer Derek Chauvin, was recorded kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes on May 25, while a handcuffed Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe”. Mr. Floyd’s death led to the #BlackLivesMatter protest across the U.S. over police brutality.
Mr. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, as well as third-degree murder. The selection for members that will make up the jury selection is underway ahead of his trial.
Presiding judge, Peter Cahill, on Thursday granted prosecutors’ request to reinstate a third-degree murder charge. The charge had been rejected last year on the grounds it was not warranted by the circumstances of Floyd’s death, however the Minnesota Court of Appeals urged Judge Cahill to reconsider whether to add the third-degree murder charge.
The three other officers involved Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng are both charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Their trial is expected to be held in August.
The city of Minneapolis have forked out over $44 million between 2006 and 2020 on settlements related to lawsuits centred on officer conduct, according to the city’s website.