On March 12, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay US$27 million to settle a lawsuit by George Floyd’s surviving family, over his death in police custody in May 2020 — an event that ignited one of the largest protests against police brutality and racism across the US and around the world. Mayor Jacob Frey had characterized the agreement as a milestone for Minneapolis’ future.
“After the eyes of the world rested on Minneapolis in its darkest hour, now the city can be a beacon of hope and light and change for cities across America and across the globe,” he said.
According to Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Floyd Family, the agreement was the largest pre-trial settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit in American history. Crump said the denomination set a precedent for a Black civilian dying in the hands of police, which “will no longer be written off as trivial, unimportant or unworthy of consequences,” he said.
Floyd’s relatives had sued the city, and three police officers including Derek Chauvin, alleging that the police used excessive force against Floyd and violated his constitutional rights. Chauvin, a white police officer, had kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, with Floyd’s pleas for help captured on video. Chauvin was set to go on trial this month for charges including second-degree murder.
With the Mayor’s commentary that this settlement is a major achievement, is this historic precedent going to make material, systemic change?
Featured Image: Courtesy of CBS news