George Floyd’s family suing former police officers, city of Minneapolis

By: - July 15, 2020 12:21 pm

Ben Crump, the attorney for George Floyd’s family, announcing a civil lawsuit on July 15, 2020 against the city of Minneapolis for Floyd’s death. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

George Floyd’s family is suing the four former Minneapolis Police officers involved in his death and the city of Minneapolis, according to a complaint filed in federal court Wednesday.

The lawsuit alleges that former officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao violated Floyd’s constitutional rights by using excessive force and not giving him medical treatment, and that the city has failed to properly train officers and address a pattern of unconstitutional policing practices, resulting in Floyd’s death. Floyd’s family is seeking punitive and compensatory damages from the officers and the city of Minneapolis.

“It was not just the knee of Officer Derek Chauvin on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, but it was the knee of the entire Minneapolis Police Department on the neck of George Floyd that killed him,” Ben Crump, the lawyer representing Floyd’s family, said during a press conference Wednesday.

Floyd didn’t resist arrest, and officers didn’t have reason to believe he was armed or dangerous, according to the filing. Still, officers continued to restrain Floyd as he cried that he couldn’t breathe and that he was going to die, then became unconscious. Thao, Lane and Kueng could have and should have intervened when Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck, the lawsuit says.

“Every reasonable officer would have known that using force against a compliant, handcuffed individual who is not resisting arrest constitutes excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” the lawsuit says. “As a result of Thao, Lane, and Kueng’s unjustified failure to intervene in the excessive use of force, Mr. Floyd died.”

The filing also alleges that Minneapolis “trains its officers to use deadly force in non-deadly circumstances,” has failed to fire “dangerous officers” like Chauvin and Thao, and has not changed its practices after years of excessive force incidents and “racially biased” policing.

The unconstitutional practices by the department were the “moving force behind George’s death,” the lawsuit says.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Floyd lawsuit by Rilyn Eischens on Scribd

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.