July 15 — The family of George Floyd filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis and four former police officers who were involved in his death.
Lawyer Ben Crump filed the civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. It seeks unspecified compensatory and special damages.
The family says Floyd’s rights were violated during his arrest on May 25 when former officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, asphyxiating him. Chauvin faces second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
The other three officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
The lawsuit also accuses the city of Minneapolis of fostering a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity without fear of retribution in the police department. The court documents detail more than a dozen examples of excessive force in the department dating back to 2009.
“This complaint shows what we have said all along, that Mr. Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” Crump said.
“The city of Minneapolis has a history of policies, procedures and deliberate indifference that violates the rights of arrestees, particularly Black men, and highlights the need for officer training and discipline. This is an unprecedented case, and with this lawsuit we seek to set a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people — especially Black people — in the future.”
Floyd’s death, caught on video by bystanders, sparked worldwide protests against police brutality and racial bias. It also prompted reforms in some law enforcement agencies, including in Minneapolis, where the City Council voted last month to approve an ordinance that removes the requirement for a police department in the city charter.
The ordinance allows for the creation of a community safety and violence prevention department that includes “licensed peace officers.”