MINNEAPOLIS—The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a $27 million settlement with the family of
whose death in police custody last year sparked a summer of unrest and a racial reckoning over law-enforcement’s treatment of Black suspects.
The settlement stems from a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the family against the city and the four former police officers charged with various counts of murder or aiding and abetting murder in the death of Mr. Floyd, who was under arrest for allegedly passing a forged $20 bill.
“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,’ said Minneapolis City Council President
“No amount of money can ever address the intense pain or trauma caused by this death to George Floyd’s family or to the people of our city.”
An attorney for the family hailed the settlement as historic.
“George Floyd’s horrific death, witnessed by millions of people around the world, unleashed a deep longing and undeniable demand for justice and change,” said Ben Crump, an attorney for the family. Mr. Crump called it the largest pretrial settlement in a wrongful-death case ever, which he said “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end.”
Ms. Bender said that $500,000 of the settlement will be used for the benefit of the community where Mr. Floyd died—part of which has been closed to traffic and become a sort of pilgrimage site for those concerned about the case.
Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s brother, pledged to use some of the money to help other struggling Black communities, but said he would rather be able to see his brother once again. “If I could get him back, I would give all of this back,” he said.
Minneapolis City Coordinator Mark Ruff said in a press conference that the city’s self-insurance fund doesn’t currently have enough money to pay for the settlement, but that the city has other reserves it can tap. He said he doesn’t expect the settlement with the Floyd family to lead to an increase in property taxes for city residents, depending on how quickly the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Crump team didn’t respond to a request for a comment on its fee, but lawyers typically receive about one-third of any settlement in a civil suit.
The settlement comes as jury selection of former officer Derek Chauvin plays out under tight security in a downtown Minneapolis courtroom.
The case against Mr. Chauvin is the first stemming from the May 25 death of Mr. Floyd. In a widely circulated video, Mr. Floyd can be seen facedown on the ground and losing consciousness as Mr. Chauvin places a knee on his neck for around 8 minutes as the three other officers assisted him.
The county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and listed the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” The county autopsy indicated Mr. Floyd suffered from heart disease and had drugs in his system. The defense has argued that the drugs and heart disease caused Mr. Floyd’s death, noting the medical examiner found no evidence of injury to his neck and back.
Mr. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder—unintentional, while committing a felony; third-degree murder; and second-degree manslaughter. Jury selection is scheduled to last another week. Opening arguments for the four-to-six week trial are set for March 29.
The other three officers were charged with abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are expected to face trial in August. Lawyers for all four have made filings indicating they aren’t guilty.
—Erin Ailworth contributed to this article.
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Appeared in the March 13, 2021, print edition as ‘Floyd Family Reaches $27 Million Settlement.’
Source: WSJ – US News