George Floyd’s family has reached a $27 million settlement with the city of Minneapolis to avoid a civil wrongful death trial stemming from the May 2020 killing of Floyd by police officers.
The $27 million is the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history, the Floyd family’s legal team said in a statement. Additionally, $500,000 from the settlement will go toward community improvement in the 38th St. & Chicago Ave. business district in Minneapolis where Floyd died.
“George Floyd’s horrific death, witnessed by millions of people around the world, unleashed a deep longing and undeniable demand for justice and change,” Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump said in a statement. “That the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever would be for the life of a black man sends a powerful message that black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end.”
George’s brother Rodney Floyd added: “Our family is grateful for all those who care so deeply about George’s life and our loss, and this agreement is a necessary step for all of us to begin to get some closure. George’s legacy for those who loved him will always be his spirit of optimism that things can get better, and we hope this agreement does just that — that it makes things a little better in Minneapolis and holds up a light for communities around the country.”
The civil lawsuit, filed in July 2020, named the city of Minneapolis as responsible for the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department. The lawsuit also named police officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng — the four officers currently facing charges for Floyd’s death — as defendants.
Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and a reinstated additional charge of third-degree murder. Following jury selection, opening statements in Chauvin’s trial are expected to begin no later than March 29th.
While promises to disband the Minneapolis Police Department remain unrealized, the Floyd family’s legal team praised the police reform measures put in place following Floyd’s death.
“We are encouraged both by the progressive police reforms already adopted and the ambitious changes city of Minneapolis leaders still hope to create,” Floyd family attorney Antonio Romanucci said in a statement. “After being identified with George Floyd for tragic reasons, Minneapolis will be remembered for progressive changes that can lead the nation in how to reform and reframe the relationship between police and communities of color.”