27.2 C
Accra

Minneapolis to Pay George Floyd’s Family $27m

The city of Minneapolis has agreed to pay $27m to settle a civil lawsuit with the family of George Floyd, just weeks before the trial is scheduled to begin for the former police officer charged with his murder.

The city council unanimously approved the settlement on Friday. The council emerged from closed session on Friday to announce the move, which includes $500,000 for the neighborhood where Floyd was arrested.

The Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said in a prepared statement that it was the largest pre-trial civil rights settlement ever, and “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end”.

- Advertisement -

Floyd, who was Black, was declared dead on 25 May 2020 after Derek Chauvin, a former police officer who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s death sparked 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 …

“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.”

- Advertisement -

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.

It was not immediately clear how the settlement might affect the trial or the jury now being seated to hear it. Joseph Daly, a professor emeritus at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, said it will be hard to stop jurors or potential jurors from hearing about it.

“Judge Cahill will likely explain to the jurors that each must make a decision based solely on the evidence they hear in the criminal trial,” Daly said.

Meanwhile, another potential juror was dismissed on Friday after she acknowledged having a negative view of the defendant.

The woman, a recent college graduate, said she had seen bystander video of Floyd’s arrest and closely read news coverage of the case. In response to a jury pool questionnaire, she said she had a “somewhat negative” view of Chauvin and that she thought he held his knee to Floyd’s neck for too long.

“I could only watch part of the video, and from what I saw as a human, I, that did not give me a good impression,” she said. She said she did not watch the bystander video in its entirety because “I just couldn’t watch it any more.”

The woman repeatedly said she could put aside her opinions and decide the case on the facts, but Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson nonetheless used one of his 15 challenges to dismiss her.

With jury selection in its fourth day, six people have been seated – five men and one woman. Three of those seated are white, one is multiracial, one is Hispanic and one is Black, according to the judge.

Cahill has set aside three weeks for jury selection, with opening statements no sooner than 29 March.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired after Floyd’s killing. The others face an August trial on aiding and abetting charges. The defense has not said whether Chauvin will testify in his own defense.

While you're here, we just want to remind you of our commitment to telling the stories that matter the most.Our commitment is to our readers first before anything else.

Our Picks

THE LATEST

INSIDE POLITICS

Get the Stories Right in Your Inbox

MORE NEWS FOR YOU