The city of Minneapolis has settled a civil suit with the family of George Floyd for a record $27 million.
The settlement was unanimously approved by the Minneapolis City Council on Friday. It’s the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in American history.
“George Floyd’s horrific death, witnessed by millions of people around the world, unleashed a deep longing and undeniable demand for justice and change,” Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the Floyd family, 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.”
Crump filed the civil complaint last July against Minneapolis and the four police officers who were involved with Floyd’s death, arguing that the police department had “frequently” failed “to terminate or discipline officers who demonstrate patterns of misconduct.”
As captured by graphic cellphone footage, Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, even after Floyd was unconscious. Floyd pleaded with Chauvin multiple times, saying that he couldn’t breathe before becoming unresponsive; he was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.
At least $500,000 of the payment will go to revitalizing the 38th St. & Chicago Ave. community where Floyd was fatally restrained.
The killing sparked the revitalization of the Black Lives Matter movement, with nationwide protests calling for police reform and the end to systemic racism dominating last summer.
Since Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has implemented multiple policing changes, including the prohibition of chokeholds, an overhaul of its use of force policy and no longer allow officers to turn off their body cams while responding to a call.
The city council in December also decided to cut $8 million from the police department’s budget, opting instead to use the funds for violence prevention and other social services.
The settlement comes as the criminal case for Chauvin, who is standing trial for Floyd’s murder, began jury selection this week.
He faces counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Six jurors have been selected so far for the high-profile case, though it’s unclear what kind of ramifications the settlement will have on the trial proceedings.
—Updated at 2:47 p.m.