A trustee for the family of George Floyd, a Black man who died on May 25 after a Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has sued the city and four police officers in federal court, seeking monetary damages.
The lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court in Minneapolis by Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented other families in high-profile police killings of Black men, and co-counsel Antonio Romanucci.
Crump, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, described it as a “wrongful death, civil rights lawsuit.”
Floyd’s death triggered nationwide street protests against police brutality and renewed the American debate about racism in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic – just months away from the Nov. 3 presidential election.
The suit names as defendants the city of Minneapolis and four officers who participated in his arrest on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 at a grocery store. It seeks money for compensatory, special, and punitive damages from the officers and compensatory and special damages from the city.
Derek Chauvin, a white police officer who knelt on Floyd while he was handcuffed, was arrested four days after his death. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
Three other officers who were at the scene, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting in the case.
Floyd, 46, pleaded for his life, telling police he could not breathe.
His death, on the heels of several other high-profile police killings of African Americans, led to protests across the United States and globally, with the Black Lives Matter group demanding a revamping of law enforcement.
The U.S. Congress failed last month to agree on legislation designed to bring about changes in policing. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.