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George Floyd’s family to announce lawsuit against city of Minneapolis, officers charged in his killing

Attorneys for George Floyd’s family plan to announce a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis and the police officers who are charged in his death. Attorney Ben Crump planned a late-morning news conference in Minneapolis to detail the lawsuit.

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers at the scene — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng — are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

All four officers were fired the day after Floyd’s death, which set off protests that spread around the world and turned into a national reckoning on race in the United States.

Floyd’s death also sparked calls to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new public safety department. A majority of city council members support the move, saying the department has a long history and culture of brutality that has resisted change.

A public hearing was planned later Wednesday on the proposal, which requires a change in the city’s charter that could go to voters in November.

The lawsuit comes on the same day that a court allowed public viewing by appointment of video from the body cameras of Lane and Kueng. A coalition of news organizations and attorneys for Lane and Kueng have been advocating to make the videos public, saying they would provide a more complete picture of what happened when Floyd was taken into custody. The judge hasn’t said why he’s not allowing the video to be disseminated more widely.

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According to documents in state probate court, Floyd is survived by 11 known heirs, including five children and six siblings. They live in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and New York. All but one of Floyd’s children are adults. He has no living parents or grandparents.

The families of victims of other high-profile police killings have received high payouts in Minnesota. Last year, Minneapolis agreed to pay $20 million US to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an unarmed woman who was shot by an officer after she called 911 to report hearing a possible crime happening behind her home. The settlement came three days after the officer, Mohamed Noor, was convicted of murdering her and is believed to be the largest payout ever stemming from police violence in Minnesota.

At the time, Mayor Jacob Frey cited Noor’s unprecedented conviction and his failure to identify a threat before he used deadly force as reasons for the large settlement.

The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by an officer in 2016, reached a nearly $3 million US settlement with the suburb of St. Anthony, Minn., which employed the officer. The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges.

Published at Wed, 15 Jul 2020 16:21:54 +0000

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