George Floyd’s Family Files Lawsuit Against Minneapolis, Police

In this May 28, 2020 file photo, a protester holds a photo of George Floyd during a protest in Minneapolis over Floyd's death. Video from the body cameras of two officers charged in the death of Floyd is being made available for public viewing by appointment on Wednesday, July 15 …
AP Photo/Jim Mone

On Wednesday, members of George Floyd’s family filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Minneapolis, and the four officers involved in his death.

George Floyd’s family is seeking unspecified financial damages, as well as the appointment of a “receiver or similar authority” who would ensure Minneapolis law enforcement “properly trains and supervises its police officers.” The suit alleges that Derek Chauvin and his fellow officers violated Floyd’s constitutional rights, and that the city “caused officers to act with impunity, and without fear of retribution.”

The suit further accuses the city of “frequently [failing] to terminate or discipline officers who demonstrate patterns of misconduct.” And specifically, that the Minneapolis Police Department “has observed unlawful or otherwise improper conduct by Chauvin throughout his career but has tolerated it and refused to remedy or mitigate it.”

“Every reasonable officer would have known that using force against a compliant, handcuffed individual who is not resisting arrest constitutes excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” the suit says. The suit also alleges that fellow former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng “had a duty to intervene on behalf of a citizen whose constitutional rights were being violated in their presence by another officer.”

Representing attorney Ben Crump called the lawsuit “unprecedented” at the press conference announcing the suit. “With this lawsuit, we seek to set a precedent to make it financially prohibitive” for police to “wrongfully kill marginalized people, especially Black people, in the future,” Crump said.

“The city of Minneapolis has a history of policies and procedures and deliberate indifference when it comes to the treatment of arrestees, especially Black men, that cries out for training and discipline,” he continued. On Twitter, Crump announced the lawsuit by saying, “The pursuit to get #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd continues! On behalf [of] George’s family, we’re announcing a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and police officers today.”

None of the former officers’ representatives have commented as of the time of this writing. Minneapolis interim City Attorney Erik Nilsson, however, issued a statement saying the city was reviewing the lawsuit, and calling Floyd’s death a “tragedy.”

“Criminal charges are pending against four Minneapolis police officers and it’s very important that the criminal case proceed without interference,” Nilsson said.

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