“We are grateful to the leadership of the City of Minneapolis,” said George Floyd’s family attorney Ben Crump as he opened an hour-long press conference in which it was announced that the City had agreed to pay out $27 million to settle the Floyd family wrongful death lawsuit.
The $27 million is the largest-ever payout by the City of Minneapolis, topping the $20 million paid to the family of Justine Ruszczyk in 2019. The settlement is the second-largest in U.S. history.
“Today they [City of Minneapolis] have shown that the life of George Floyd and Black lives matter to them. We applaud this responsible city leadership,” Crump said. The Minneapolis City Council approved the settlement unanimously.
The settlement has raised lots of speculation on how this will affect the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin is on trial only blocks away for the second and third-degree murder of Floyd.
“When George Floyd was horrifically killed on May 25, it was a watershed moment in America,” said Crump. He pointed out that over 50 million witnessed Floyd “tortured to death.” Crump said that once you see the video of Floyd’s fatal arrest, you cannot un-see it.
“Breonna Taylor and George Floyd will be forever linked in history,” said Crump. Louisville settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $12 million with Taylor’s family in September. “Because of the pandemic, everything else in America has shut down except for implicit bias and police excessive force, ” added Crump.
George’s brother Philonise Floyd said he was “relieved” that a settlement had reached but said, “If I could get him back, I would give all of this back.”
“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, said George’s brother Rodney.
As part of the settlement, $500,000 would be contributed to businesses in the 38th Street and Chicago corridor where Floyd was killed.
Lawyers also mentioned that the City had discussed tightening its policy on body cameras, enlisting a new policy to help police disengage in tense situations, as well as a new panel on the use of force–all of which was made public for the first time.
“If you don’t fix the policies, you will be seeing us again,” warned attorney Chris Stewart.
The Chauvin criminal trial was on the minds of the attendees and press alike. One of the teams of attorneys said partial justice would be no justice at all, alluding to the settling of the suit as a kind of partial justice.
One questioner asked why the settlement was reached now, while Chauvin is on trial for murdering Floyd. Another asked if the two were related.
Councilmember Andrea Jenkins asked for calm in the streets regardless of the trial outcome. She said in the future she will be seeking “transformational healing” and said this is a step toward that healing.
“Our settlement with George Floyd’s family reflects a shared commitment to advancing racial justice and a sustained push for progress,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
When confronted with a question about why there were so many fortifications, soldiers, and barbed wire the mayor said they were a precaution against what happened when “White Supremacists used the protest as cover for destruction. We want to encourage peaceful protesting,” he said.