The Minneapolis City Council has agreed to pay $27 million to the family of George Floyd to close the civil case. The city council approved the settlement deal with 13-0 votes. The council has directed that out of $27 million, $500,000 must be used for the George Floyd Memorial site at 38th and Chicago, where Floyd had died.
The attorneys representing Floyd's family termed this as the largest pretrial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. history. "This is a message that the unjust taking of Black life will no longer be written off as trivial, unimportant or unworthy of consequences," said attorney Ben Crump addressing a news conference.
Largest Sum Paid as Settlement
Reacting to the news of settlement, Floyd's family and the legal team representing them hoped that this will inspire policymakers to institute policing reforms. Reports state that laws on police procedures in Minnesota have already been changed.
Victim's brother Philonise Floyd, said: "I thank the state of Minnesota for getting this settlement taken care of. But even though my brother is not here, he's here with me in my heart. Because if I could get him back, I would give all of this back." He also said that this settlement sum has given them an opportunity to fund low-income, African American communities.
City Council President Lisa Bender said that this incident has changed Minneapolis fundamentally. "We know that no amount of money can ever address the intense pain and trauma caused by his death, for George Floyd's family and to so many people in our community who are grieving," Bender said.
Addressing the news conference, attorney Antonio Romanucci said that the legal team will work with the city to establish a panel to review each instance of force used by police. He also spoke of forming a unit to ensure that the Police Department followed the new reforms.
This is the largest sum being paid as a settlement. It has surpassed the sum awarded in 2019 where Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white woman was killed by a black officer. Reports claim that Minneapolis city has spent a total of $71 million in 15 years to settle lawsuits against police officers.
Chauvin to Stand Trial
Meanwhile, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is accused of killing George Floyd is standing trial. He is accused of killing 46-year-old Floyd in May 2020 by kneeling on the victim's neck for more than eight minutes. The video of Floyd suffocating and pleading the officer to release him went viral and led to nation-wide protests against the brutality of police.
Currently, Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder and also second-degree manslaughter charges. He has also pleaded not guilty to third-degree murder. Along with him, three others former cops who aided Floyd's arrest will also be tried in August.
Floyd's family filed a lawsuit against the Minneapolis City on July 15, 2020. The case stated that the four former cops including Chauvin had violated Floyd's rights while arresting him.