ABOVE: Attorney Ben Crump speaks during a press conference outside of the Diana E. Murphy U.S. Courthouse on July 15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The press conference was held to announce a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and police officers, on behalf of the family of George Floyd. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Largest pre-trial civil rights wrongful death settlement in U.S. history; Portion of funds returning to 38th St. & Chicago Ave. for community improvement
This past week, the civil lawsuit that was filed by the family members of George Floyd and their legal team, regarding his tragic death, was settled last week by the City of Minneapolis. Headed by nationally-recognized civil rights attorney Ben Crump, the civil lawsuit was settled for a record $27 million, accompanied by plans for police reforms and investment in the neighborhood where George Floyd lived and died.
The $27 million settlement is the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history and includes $500,000 to be directed by the Floyd family to enhance the 38th St. & Chicago Ave. district where George Floyd died and to lift up struggling Black businesses.
“Our family is grateful for all those who care so deeply about George’s life and our loss, and this agreement is a necessary step for all of us to begin to get some closure,” said Rodney Floyd, brother of George Floyd. “George’s legacy for those who loved him will always be his spirit of optimism that things can get better, and we hope this agreement does just that – that it makes things a little better in Minneapolis and holds up a light for communities around the country.”
Crump said the settlement makes a powerful statement about the value of Black lives and the necessity of police reform.
“George Floyd’s horrific death, witnessed by millions of people around the world, unleashed a deep longing and undeniable demand for justice and change,” said Crump. “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 also challenged corporations headquartered in Minneapolis and elsewhere to match the investment and enhance its impact. The legal team also praised police reforms adopted by the city after George Floyd’s death and pledged support for further reforms.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the settlement “reflects our shared commitment to advancing racial justice … our commitment to a sustained push for progress.”
“Our Black community has endured deep and compounding trauma over the last year.
We need to be unrelenting and unapologetic in our pursuit of a more equitable local government and more just approach to community safety and policing,” said Frey. “Amid unprecedented loss and pain, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity before us to effectuate change that has eluded policymakers, advocates, and community calls for far, far too long.”
After George Floyd’s death, the City of Minneapolis adopted sweeping police reforms, including comprehensive use-of-force reporting, a requirement to keep body-worn cameras on all the time, a policy for officers to de-escalate non-threatening encounters with citizens by disengaging or walking away, and recruitment of officers based on a holistic evaluation that favors those who live in the areas they would police and who have social service experience.