The city of Minneapolis, United States has accepted to pay $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit with the family of George Floyd, even as jury selection was under way in the murder trial of former police officer, Derek Chauvin – who killed him.
The city council unanimously gave a nod to the settlement on Friday. The council came out after closed session to announce the move, which included $500,000 for the neighborhood where Floyd was arrested and killed.
Floyd’s family attorney, Ben Crump, said in a prepared statement that it was the largest pre-trial civil rights settlement ever in a wrongful death lawsuit, and “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end”.
George Floyd, a Black-American was declared dead on 25 May 2020 after Derek Chauvin, a former police officer who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd’s death generated mass protests in Minneapolis and across the US and led to a national reckoning on racial justice.
“I hope that today will center the voices of the family and anything that they would like to share,” the council president, Lisa Bender, said. “But 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 of our community who are mourning his loss.”
Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, said in a statement: “On behalf of all of my family members, I am pleased that this part of our tragic journey to justice for my brother George is resolved.”
She added: “Our family suffered an irreplaceable loss May 25 when George’s life was senselessly taken by a Minneapolis police officer. While we will never get our beloved George back, we will continue to work tirelessly to make this world a better, and safer, place for all.”
Floyd’s family filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in July against the city, Chauvin and three other fired officers charged in his death. It alleged the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him, and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force.
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said of the settlement: “Even though my brother is not here, he’s here with me in my heart. If I could get him back, I would give all this back.”
“That dollar amount shows that what happened to George Floyd was wrong. It goes to show that we matter but it’s an opportunity to show that these types of injustices are wrong. It was a clear violation of George Floyd’s civil rights. It shouldn’t have happened,” said Todd Gramenz of Black Lives Matter, St. Paul.
Ifesinachi Nnabugwu reporting, Obinwannem News