George Floyd’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the four police officers charged in his death that set off weeks of worldwide protests against police abuse of minorities.
Floyd, an African American, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, held him face down on a city street for nearly eight minutes, pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, while the three other officers who witnessed the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting the killing. All were fired the day after the incident, which was precipitated after a convenience store clerk accused 47-year-old Floyd of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.
In the days and weeks that followed, U.S. demonstrations against police brutality, some of them violent clashes between protesters and police, occurred in cities large and small from coast to coast. Many of the demonstrations took place across the street from the White House.
The lawsuit did not specify the amount the Floyd family was seeking, but Ben Crump, their lawyer, said they are seeking compensation "that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people — especially Black people — in the future."
At a news conference, Crump said, “It was not just the knee of officer Derek Chauvin on George Floyd's neck. But it was the knee of the entire Minneapolis Police Department on the neck of George Floyd that killed him."
Crump alleged that “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."
City leaders have proposed disbanding the police department in favor of an agency that deals with public safety issues and underlying social concerns that foments crime.