The Minneapolis City Council approved Friday a $27 million civil settlement with the family of George Floyd over the Black man’s death in police custody last year. The city council voted 13-0 to approve the settlement, which directs $500,000 to be used to benefit the George Floyd Memorial site at 38th and Chicago.
“Mr. Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” Attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family, said when the suit was filed.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said Floyd’s death caused a “century-in-the-making reckoning around racial justice that struck Minneapolis like a thunderbolt” and reverberated around the world. Frey said the settlement reflected a commitment to advance racial justice and thanked Floyd’s family for partnering with the city in reform measures.
Speaking Friday, Floyd’s family said they are grateful for the settlement, but said no amount of money could heal the pain of his loss.
“Even though my brother is not here, he’s here with me in my heart,” said Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd. “Because if I could get him back, I would give all of this back.”
Floyd said his brother started a movement and thanked supporters, especially those who took to the streets to protest amid a pandemic.
“You put your lives on the line — there’s nothing I can do to be able to repay you for that because you showed who you are,” Philonise Floyd said.
Crump called the settlement “historic” and thanked city leaders, who he called “progressive and deeply moral.” Crump said the settlement sends a message that the unjust killings of Black people should not be written off as “trivial, unimportant or unworthy of consequences.”
“The family of George Floyd and our legal team are very grateful to Mayor Frey and the city council for not just saying you care about George Floyd, but showing that you care about George Floyd — not just saying that black lives matter, but showing the world that black lives matter,” Crump said.
Crump noted that Saturday marks a grim anniversary — one year since the fatal police shooting ofin Louisville during a botched police raid. Floyd and Taylor will be “forever linked in history as two people who were taken from us at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect them, serve them,” Crump said.
Floyd’s family has been in touch with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, Crump said.
Crump also pleaded for protesters to remain peaceful as the Chauvin trial continues with jury selection.
In a statement, Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd, who was not in attendance, said: “I am pleased that this part of our tragic journey to justice for my brother George is resolved.”
“Our family suffered an irreplaceable loss May 25 when George’s life was senselessly taken by a Minneapolis police officer,” Bridgett Floyd said. “While we will never get our beloved George back, we will continue to work tirelessly to make this world a better, and safer, place for all.”
The lawsuit also said the city allowed for a culture of excessive force and racism to proliferate within the police department. Speaking Friday, lawyers representing Floyd’s family members said they are encouraged that the Minneapolis police department has undergone, but will push for more change.
Lawyer Antonio Romanucci said the family hopes more reforms will be implemented at the police department, including a panel to review all use of force incidents, a quality assurance unit to ensure reforms are adhered to, and an early intervention system that will rely on analytics to identify problem officers. He said the settlement should be a “wake-up call” for police departments across the country to swiftly take up reforms to prevent needless death and serious injury.
“This case has been set as a watershed event for civil rights in America and around the world,” Romanucci said. “I can tell you… this does feel like a turning point for police reform, but only because there were conscious choices that were made to do so.”