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US city agrees to settlement over George Floyd's death

March 12, 2021

The US city of Minneapolis will pay several million to settle a civil lawsuit brought by George Floyd's family. The police officer charged in connection with Floyd's death is currently facing trial.

A demonstrator holds up an image of George Floyd during a rally in New York
Floyd's death sparked massive Black Lives Matter protests over police violence and the treatment of people of color in the United StatesImage: Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS

The city of Minneapolis reached a settlement on Friday with the family of George Floyd, a Black man who died last year while being arrested by a white police officer.

The city agreed to pay $27 million (€22.6 million) to settle the civil lawsuit.

Lawyers for Floyd's family said the agreed sum is the "largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in US history."

What's in the settlement?

The settlement results from a federal lawsuit which the Floyd family filed in July 2020. The suit claimed that police used excessive force against Floyd in violation of his constitutional rights.

The settlement includes $500,000 for the south Minneapolis neighborhood where Floyd died.

This neighborhood includes the community around the intersection where Floyd died which has been blocked by barricades since his death, with a massive metal sculpture and murals in his honor.

Memorials to George Floyd take many forms at 38th St. and Chicago Ave. in Minneapolis
The intersection where Floyd died is barricaded with murals and sculptures to this dayImage: Mark Hertzberg/ZUMA Wire/picture-alliance

How has Floyd's family reacted?

The family was "pleased that this part of our tragic journey to justice for my brother George is resolved," said Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd.

One of the family's attorney's, L. Chris Stewart, said that although a criminal trial is still ongoing against the police officer accused of Floyd's murder, the settlement "imparts a measure of justice that is meaningful, important and necessary."

"It provides a path forward for our clients and ensures that George Floyd's death will result in substantive, positive change," he said.

What did the city say?

The city council grounded their statement in thoughts for Floyd's family and the community. 

Police reform in the US

"I hope that today will center the voices of the family and anything that they would like to share," Council President Lisa Bender said.

"But I do want to, on behalf of the entire City Council, offer my deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd, his friends and all of our community who are mourning his loss."

What happened to George Floyd?

George Floyd was pronounced dead on May 25 last year after Derek Chauvin, a former officer who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for about nine minutes.

Chauvin was one of the officers involved in arresting Floyd on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

The incident was captured on a bystander's smartphone showing the 46-year-old Black man crying for help while being pinned under Chauvin's knee.

Floyd's death sparked protests against racial injustice across the United States, before spreading to major cities around the world.

Good policing in Moses Lake

jm, rs/ab (AP, AFP, Reuters)