Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, July 15, 2020
The family of George Floyd has filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis, seeking damages for Floyd’s killing by the police.
The lawsuit, filed in US district court in Minnesota, also names the four officers involved in Floyd’s death on 25 May, including Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes and has since been charged with second-degree murder.
Lawyers for Floyd’s family said on Wednesday they had sued the city of Minneapolis for its role “as the responsible party for the Minneapolis Police Department”. The attorneys argue the city is responsible for practices and culture of policing that led to Floyd’s death.
“This complaint shows what we have said all along, that Mr Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” said Ben Crump, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.
“The city of Minneapolis has a history of policies, procedures and deliberate indifference that violates the rights of arrestees, particularly black men, and highlights the need for officer training and discipline.
“This is an unprecedented case, and with this lawsuit we seek to set a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people – especially black people – in the future.”
The lawsuit alleges that Floyd was deprived of his constitutional rights when he was restrained by Chauvin and assisted by three other officers as they tried to arrest him in the city in May: Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao.
Lane, Kueng and Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. Lane held Floyd’s legs and Kueng was at Floyd’s midsection as Chauvin restricted his breathing. Thao warned off bystanders as they tried to intervene.
The complaint asks that a body is appointed “to ensure that the City of Minneapolis properly trains and supervises its police officers”, and that Floyd’s family be awarded compensation by a jury.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a court in Minneapolis allowed media and members of the public, by appointment only, to view body-camera footage from two of the officers involved in Floyd’s death, although not to broadcast it.
The recordings from officers Lane and Kueng are part of the criminal case against them.
The footage shows the officers’ view of a death already widely seen on a bystander’s cellphone video.