The city of Minneapolis has reached a $27 million settlement in a wrongful death civil lawsuit filed against the city by George Floyd’s family. This is separate from the pending criminal trials for the officers involved in his murder.
The City Council unanimously approved the settlement on Friday after meeting in private, Associated Press reports. It includes a $500,000 donation to the community around the intersection of 38th and Chicago Avenue — now known as George Floyd Square — where police fatally arrested Floyd last year.
The settlement was announced by the Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, who has also represented the family of Breonna Taylor among other victims of police brutality. In a statement, Crump lauded the decision saying it “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end.” Crump also called the settlement the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever.
Floyd's family filed the federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the four former officers involved in his death in July. The lawsuit claimed the city fostered a culture of excessive force and impunity within the police force and failed to terminate dangerous officers. While the $27 million compensation to Floyd's family is historic in its scale, it's a far cry from justice without convictions or the necessary structural changes to stop police killings.
"The settlement is not just historic because of the $27 million paid out but for the impact on social justice policy reforms and police reforms," said the Floyd family attorney, "Because the financial compensation most directly impacts George Floyd, and his family, the future of his family. But it is the policy reforms that affect all of us."
The family's civil lawsuit has also been fundamental in forcing the city of Minneapolis to honor commitments toward racial justice and social progress. Just days after Floyd's murder, the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban chokeholds, require officers to report other officers they see using chokeholds and intervene in such cases. And in December the city council voted to redirect $7.77 million from the police budget to other programs.
News of the settlement comes as Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for nine minutes until he died, is about to stand trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter, as well as third-degree murder. Meanwhile, the three other officers involved — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng — are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. They are expected to go to trial in August.