MINNEAPOLIS — The city of Minneapolis has reached a $27 million settlement with George Floyd’s family just weeks before the trial is scheduled to begin for the former officer charged with murder in his death.
The City Council unanimously approved the settlement Friday after adding the matter to its agenda for a closed session. The settlement includes a $500,000 contribution from Floyd’s family to the community at the intersection of 38th and Chicago Avenue — now widely known as George Floyd Square.
Benjamin Crump and other attorneys representing Floyd’s family members are scheduled to hold a news conference Friday afternoon where they will be joined by Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council members.
Crump said it was the largest pretrial civil rights settlement ever, and “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end.”
“The city needs to exhibit responsible leadership in the face of the horrific tragedy that really was a watershed moment for America,” Crump told NBC News in an interview Friday.
In a statement Friday, one of Floyd’s sisters, Bridgett Floyd, said: “On behalf of all of my family members, I am pleased that this part of our tragic journey to justice for my brother George is resolved.”
She said that while she was unable to be with her family for the official announcement of the settlement they had reached with the city, she is with them in spirit.
Floyd’s family filed a federal lawsuit in July against the city and the four officers involved in the arrest that led to his death. The lawsuit took issue with neck restraints and police policies and training, among other things. It sought compensatory and special damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.
The first former officer set to stand trial, Derek Chauvin, was recorded kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes on May 25, while a handcuffed Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe” and called out for his mother.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, as well as third-degree murder. Jury selection is underway in his trial. Six of 12 jurors have been seated as of Friday morning.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who is overseeing the trial, on Thursday granted prosecutors’ request to reinstate a third-degree murder charge. He had rejected the charge last fall on the grounds it was not warranted by the circumstances of Floyd’s death. But an appellate court ruling last month in an unrelated case established new grounds.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered Cahill to reconsider whether to add the third-degree murder charge a week ago. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, appealed that ruling, but the state Supreme Court said this week it would not intervene.
The three other officers involved — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. They are expected to go to trial in August. All four officers were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
Shaquille Brewster reported from Minneapolis and Janelle Griffith reported from New York.
Gabe Gutierrez contributed.