Tag Archives: Floyd’s

Chauvin violated policy in pinning Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, police chief testifies

The Minneapolis police chief testified on Monday that now-fired officer Derek Chauvin violated departmental policy in pinning his knee on George Floyd’s neck and keeping him down after Floyd had stopped resisting and was in distress.

Continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, “and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said.

Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd’s death last May, and in June called it “murder.” At that time, the police chief said Floyd’s death was not due to a lack of training and that “Chauvin knew what he was doing.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25. The white officer is accused of pinning his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for nine minutes, 29 seconds, as Floyd lay face-down in handcuffs outside a corner market, where had been accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

De-escalating should be ‘layered’ into use of force

Under questioning from prosecutor Matthew Frank, Arradondo said it’s the police department’s policy that officers should consider minimizing physical force during an arrest even while force is being used to restrain a suspect.

“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.” the police chief said.


Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Matthew Frank speaks as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court on Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Chauvin, who had been on the force for 19 years, failed to follow his training in several respects, Arradondo said. He could tell from Floyd’s grimaces that Chauvin was using more than the maximum “light-to-moderate” pressure an officer is allowed to use on someone’s neck.

The officer did not relent in using force even as Floyd fell unconscious and he did not provide mandated first aid to a dying Floyd, Arradondo said.

“It’s contrary to our training to indefinitely place your knee on a prone, handcuffed individual for an indefinite period of time,” he said.

Arradondo’s testimony came after the emergency room doctor who pronounced Floyd dead testified that he theorized at the time that Floyd’s heart most likely stopped because of a lack of oxygen.

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident on duty that night at Hennepin County Medical Center and tried to resuscitate Floyd, earlier took the stand at the beginning of Week Two at Chauvin’s murder trial.

WATCH | ER doctor describes efforts to resuscitate George Floyd:

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld told the murder trial of a former Minneapolis police officer that paramedics found George Floyd without a pulse when they brought him to the ER. 1:59

Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital. The doctor said that he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes.

Under questioning by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld said that based on the information he had, death by asphyxiation was “more likely than the other possibilities.”

The defence argues that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions caused his death.

Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson questioned Langenfeld about whether some drugs can cause hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen. The doctor acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine, both of which were found in Floyd’s body, can do so.

The county medical examiner’s office ultimately classified Floyd’s death a homicide — that is, a death at the hands of someone else.

Opioid antidote of no use during cardiac arrest

The full report said Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.”

Under cross-examination from Nelson, Langenfeld said Floyd’s carbon dioxide levels were more than twice has high as levels in healthy person, and he agreed that that could be attributed to a respiratory problem. But on questioning from the prosecutor, the doctor said the high levels were also consistent with cardiac arrest — the stopping of the heart.

Langenfeld also testified that neither he nor paramedics administered a drug that would reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The doctor said giving Narcan once a patient is in cardiac arrest would provide no benefit.

The doctor also told the court that paramedics made no mention that Floyd may have suffered a drug overdose before he was brought to the hospital.

Floyd’s treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video that sparked protests that rocked Minneapolis and quickly spread to other U.S. cities and beyond and descended into violence in some cases.

WATCH | Knee on George Floyd’s neck ‘uncalled for,’ veteran officer says:

At the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, the officer with the most seniority on the Minneapolis Police Department said the use of force on George Floyd was ‘uncalled for’ and ‘totally unnecessary.’ 0:55

Langenfeld said that “any amount of time” a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR decreases the chance of a good outcome. He said there is an approximately 10 per cent to 15 per cent decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered.

The city of Minneapolis moved soon after Floyd’s death to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints. Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey also made several policy changes, including expanding requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents and documenting attempts to de-escalate situations.

Prosecutors have already called supervisory officers to build the case that Chauvin improperly restrained Floyd. A duty sergeant and a lieutenant who leads the homicide division both questioned Chauvin’s actions in pinning Floyd to the ground.

“Totally unnecessary,” Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-tenured officer on the force, testified Friday. He said once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw “no reason for why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.”

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Police could have ended George Floyd’s restraint after he was handcuffed, former sergeant testifies

A former Minneapolis police supervisor, on duty the night George Floyd died, says officers could have stopped restraining him after he was handcuffed and no longer resisting.

That testimony from David Pleoger, now retired, was a key part of the prosecution’s case on the fourth day of the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. It included a snippet of a call between Pleoger and Chauvin — in which Chauvin says he was going to call Pleoger and request that he come to the scene where Chauvin and three other officers had had their encounter with Floyd.

Jurors also heard the emotional testimony of Floyd’s former girlfriend along with evidence from two paramedics who attended to Floyd that day, one of whom said that when he arrived, he thought Floyd was dead.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020. The 46-year-old Black man died after Chauvin pressed a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes as two other officers held him down. Video captured by a bystander showed the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly say he couldn’t breathe. 

Floyd had been detained outside a convenience store after being suspected of paying with a counterfeit bill. All four officers were later fired. The footage of the arrest prompted widespread outrage, setting off protests across the U.S. and around the world.

For the prosecution, Pleoger, who had worked with Chauvin for eight years, and whose duties as a sergeant included reviewing police use-of-force incidents, may have offered the most important evidence.


Courteney Ross, the former girlfriend of George Floyd, offers emotional testimony at the trial into his death. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Indeed, his opinion on the officers’ use of force against Floyd became a point of contention between the prosecution and Eric Nelson, defence counsel for Chauvin. 

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Pleoger, based upon his review of this incident, if he believed the restraint on Floyd should have ended at some point.

That prompted Nelson to object, who argued that Pleoger, because of the “criticality” of the incident, had hiked the review of it up the chain of command, and that he had only reviewed the police officers’ body camera video.

But Judge Peter Cahill allowed Schleicher to ask one question about Pleoger’s view of the incident.

“Do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?” Schleicher asked.

Pleoger answered: “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended the restraint.”


Paramedic Derek Smith testified that he couldn’t find Floyd’s pulse upon arriving on the scene. ‘In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead,’ he told court. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Schleicher followed up: “And that was when he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resistant?” 

Yes, Pleoger replied.

Pleoger had gone to the scene after he was contacted by a dispatcher, who was concerned about what she had seen of the arrest on a city surveillance camera.

He testified that, after hearing from the dispatcher, the first person he called was Chauvin.

Chauvin told Pleoger: “I was just going to call you and have you come out to our scene here,” according to a clip of their conversation played in the Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday.

“We just had to hold a guy down. He was going crazy. He wouldn’t go in the back of the squad,” Chauvin said, as the recording cut off. 

Pleoger described the rest of the conversation, saying that he believed Chauvin told him they had tried to put Floyd in the back of the squad car but that he became combative and injured his nose or mouth. He said Chauvin told him that, after struggling with Floyd, Floyd had suffered a medical emergency and the ambulance was called.

Court also heard from Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, who said when he arrived, he saw no signs that Floyd was breathing or moving, and it appeared he was in cardiac arrest. A second paramedic, Derek Smith, testified that he couldn’t find a pulse: “In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead.”

But the most emotional testimony came from Floyd’s former girlfriend Courteney Ross who chronicled some of their struggles with opioid addiction.

Ross wept through much of her testimony as she told the court about how she met Floyd, their relationship, and their battle with addiction to painkillers.

Floyd’s drug use is a central argument in Chauvin’s defence. The prosecution believes Chauvin’s knee pressing into Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed on to the pavement was the cause of his death. But the defence argues it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use and adrenaline flowing through his system that ultimately killed him.

Under cross-examination, Nelson asked Ross about some incidents of Floyd’s drug use, including an overdose he suffered in March 2020. 

“You did not know that he had taken heroin at that time?” Nelson asked.

She said she didn’t.

Nelson also focused on pills they had purchased that same month that were different than other painkillers purchased in the past.

Ross testified that instead of relaxing her, they made her jittery, and she couldn’t sleep at night.

Ross also testified that in May, she used similar pills and that she experienced the same effects. Nelson reminded her that she has previously told FBI agents that the pill made her feel like she was going to die, although she said she didn’t recall saying that to the agents.

She said she noticed a change in Floyd’s behaviour about two weeks before his death. Court also heard that she had told FBI agents that the pills made Floyd bounce around and be unintelligible at times.

However, prosecutor Matthew Frank tried to downplay the potential toxicity of those pills, getting Ross to agree that, obviously, neither she or Floyd had died from ingesting them in March or May.

She said Floyd “had a lot of energy” after using them.

Court also heard that Floyd’s pet name for Ross in his phone was “Mama” — testimony that called into question the widely reported account that Floyd was crying out for this mother as he lay pinned to the pavement.

In some of the video, Floyd can be heard calling out, “Mama!” repeatedly and saying, “Mama, I love you! … Tell my kids I love them.”

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Minneapolis to pay George Floyd’s family $27M US to settle civil suit

The city of Minneapolis on Friday agree to pay $ 27 million US to settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd’s family over the Black man’s death in police custody, even as jury selection continued in a former officer’s murder trial.

The Minneapolis City Council emerged from closed session Friday to announce the settlement, which includes $ 500,000 US for the neighbourhood where Floyd was arrested.

Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump said in a prepared statement that 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 colour must end.”

Floyd was declared dead on May 25 after now-former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s killing sparked protests in Minneapolis and beyond and led to a national reckoning on racial justice.

City council offers condolences

“I hope that today will centre 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.”

Floyd’s family filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in July against the city, Chauvin and three other fired officers charged in his death. It alleged the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him, and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force.

In 2019, Minneapolis agreed to pay $ 20 million US to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond to settle her family’s civil rights lawsuit. Damond, an unarmed woman who was shot by an officer after she called 911 to report hearing a possible crime happening behind her home, was white.

The federal lawsuit sought unspecified compensatory and special damages in an amount to be determined by a jury. It also sought a receiver to be appointed to ensure that the city properly trains and supervises officers in the future.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the settlement might affect the trial or the jury now being seated to hear it. Joseph Daly, a professor emeritus at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., said it will be hard to stop jurors or potential jurors from hearing about it.

According to Daly, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill “will likely explain to the jurors that each must make a decision based solely on the evidence they hear in the criminal trial.” 

Jury selection continues in murder trial

Meanwhile, another potential juror was dismissed Friday after she acknowledged having a negative view of Chauvin.

The woman, a recent college graduate, said she had seen a bystander video of Floyd’s arrest and closely read news coverage of the case. In response to a jury pool questionnaire, she said she had a “somewhat negative” view of Chauvin and that she thought he held his knee to Floyd’s neck for too long.

“I could only watch part of the video, and from what I saw … that did not give me a good impression.” She said she did not watch the video in its entirety because “I just couldn’t watch it anymore.”

The woman repeatedly said she could put aside her opinions and decide the case on the facts, but Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson nonetheless used one of his 15 challenges to dismiss her.

LISTEN | The trial for George Floyd’s killing begins:

Front Burner29:31The trial for George Floyd’s killing begins

This week, jury selection is underway for one of the most scrutinized court cases in recent history: the second-degree murder and manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s killing sparked an enormous, international protest movement for racial justice. Today, CBC senior correspondent Susan Ormiston takes us to Minneapolis to hear from the people there as they brace for this trial. 29:31

With jury selection in its fourth day, six people have been seated — five men and one woman. Three of those seated are white, one is multiracial, one is Hispanic and one is Black, according to Cahill.

He has set aside three weeks for jury selection, with opening statements set to begin no sooner than March 29.

Friday’s quick dismissal echoed others earlier in the case for similar reasons. On Thursday, one woman was dismissed after she said she “can’t unsee the video” of Chauvin pinning Floyd.

Jurors pressed on potential bias

Nelson pressed the woman hard on whether she could be fair despite her strong opinions.

“Looking in your heart and looking in your mind can you assure us you can set all of that aside, all of that, and focus only on the evidence that is presented in this courtroom?” Nelson asked.

“I can assure you, but like you mentioned earlier, the video is going to be a big part of the evidence and there’s no changing my mind about that,” she replied.

Potential jurors’ identities are being protected and they are not shown on livestreamed video of the proceedings.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired. The others face an August trial on aiding and abetting charges. Lawyers haven’t said whether Chauvin will testify in his own defence.

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How the Black Canadian Coaches Association was born from George Floyd’s death

There is an equation St. FX women’s basketball Lee Anna Osei continually instills in her players. 

It reads E+R=O. Event plus response equals outcome. The idea is that if you respond to an event in the right way, the outcome will turn out favourably.

Osei, known as Coach Lee to her players and friends alike, has witnessed firsthand the lack of minority coaching hires across the Canadian sports landscape.

But that’s more of a long-standing fact than an event. And so a response never followed.

Then George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking a worldwide racial reckoning and increased calls for racial justice by the likes of Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Canadian WNBAer Natalie Achonwa.

Those three in particular spurred Osei to a response: the formation of the Black Canadian Coaches Association (BCCA).

“I considered this a passion project to start. But then in realizing the change that it really can have, it’s not just a passion project of mine. It’s a passion project for hundreds of thousands of people,” Osei said.

The BCCA intends to increase opportunities for BIPOC coaches in Canada through its principles of networking, celebration and advocacy through allyship.

CBC Sports visual audit

In July, a CBC Sports visual audit revealed that only about 10 per cent of 400 top positions at 56 Canadian universities are held by a Black person, Indigenous person or person of colour.

“Everyone sees this as a gap that needs to be addressed — not just in Canada. We need to do better. But how we do that is probably the challenging thing right now,” Osei said.

In addition to initiatives such as the Black Female Coach Mentorship Program and The Racial Equity Project, the BCCA plans to maintain numbers on how many coaching positions in Canada are filled by minority candidates. Nothing official on that front currently exists.

Osei says the organization is also hoping to secure funding from the federal government.

Osei, 30, grew up in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood. She says she first picked up a basketball “because honestly, it was either a ball or probably something not as positive.”

WATCH | Bring It In’s Black History Month book recommendations:

Morgan Campbell, Meghan McPeak, and Dave Zirin suggest some readings for February as we celebrate Black History Month. 5:08

One of Osei’s first coaching influences was her Grade 6 principal who co-starred as basketball coach. Now, she’s put together a 12-year coaching career herself.

“The most passionate, the most impactful, the most helpful people I’ve met have all been coaches, and that said something about the Canadian context of coaching because there’s not a lot of professional jobs out there,” Osei said.

Corey Grant wants one of those jobs. Currently the offensive co-ordinator of McMaster’s football team, Grant, first and foremost, says he wants the pandemic to end so he can return to the field. 

But the former CFLer would also like to rise the ranks and chart a path for future Black athletes and coaches.

“Representation matters because you want to see what you can be. And sometimes if we’re seeing lack of representation at different levels, especially in coaching and then head coaching, as a player and as a former player, I start to think, ‘Well, maybe I can’t be that head coach.’ As an athlete, you never want to say ‘can’t,’ said Grant.

Grant, 44, grew up in Stoney Creek, Ont., near Hamilton. He spent 11 years as a CFL receiver from 1999-2009 with the Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders, winning a pair of Grey Cups in the process.


Corey Grant says the BCCA is important so that young, prospective Black coaches can see a path to the job. (Courtesy Corey Grant)

In the years since, Grant has begun his coaching career, going from McMaster receivers coach to Tiger-Cats running backs coach and back to McMaster in his current role.

As a player, Grant said his sole focus on playing made him block out the various microaggressions he encounters every day as a Black man.

“Sometimes you shake it off because, hey, I got to focus on the game, I got to focus on practice. And now you start to realize, you know what, that’s not good for your mental health,” Grant said.

High school memory

Certain incidents can’t be blocked out though, such as one high school memory Grant says he recalls like it was yesterday.

It was after a school dance and Grant noticed a crowd packed with screaming people in the parking lot. As he walked towards the noise, some classmates stopped him: “don’t get him,’ they said, “leave him, he’s an athlete.”

“It was some guys wearing swastikas and beat up some South Asian kids and ripped off their turbans and beat them to a pulp in the parking lot. You felt helpless. You couldn’t do anything,” Grant recalled.

Grant went home and punched his garage door out of frustration. It was the only thing he could do.

As assistant director of the BCCA, Grant aims to prevent that feeling of helplessness among Black children — specifically daughter Qiawna, 12, and son Devonn, 10, who are both aspiring athletes.

“It’s doing it through advocacy, through our relationships, through celebration and networking, because sometimes there’s that thought of, ‘it’s just me going through this. Nobody else is there with me. I have to deal with this,’ and then that’s where that mental health piece comes in,” Grant said.


Grant won two Grey Cups as a CFL player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders. (The Canadian Press)

Grant’s parents were his first coaching inspirations. Father Lynford was a steel worker and mother Hermine worked various jobs when Corey was growing up, but now runs a nursing home.

Their hard work stuck with Corey, who is the oldest of four siblings, plus two foster sisters and a foster brother.

As a player with the Tiger-Cats, Grant met Bernie Custis, the first Black professional quarterback in the modern era, and first-ever in the CFL.

Custis, who played with NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown at Syracuse, is also one of few Black head coaches in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) history.

“None of the [current football] head coaches in the OUA are of colour. So then who is having those conversations and leadership position with the players that are on their team? Who is having those conversations about George Floyd, social justice and injustices and equity?”

OUA announces task force

In August, the OUA announced the creation of a Black, biracial and Indigenous task force to emphasize diversity throughout the conference.

The desire to educate is perhaps what drew Grant to Osei and the BCCA. Having one centralized network to disperse information to coaches throughout Canada could become an invaluable tool.

Not to mention the work the BCCA is hoping to do in providing more opportunities for BIPOC coaches.

“Our goal is really simple,” Osei said. “We’re going to use the platform and leverage other organizations and individuals who believe in our mandate to find the very few people of colour in leadership positions and we want to celebrate them and we want other people to know, hey, that can be you.”

Grant watched recently as just two of seven open NFL head coaching positions went to BIPOC candidates. Eric Bienemy, the Black offensive co-ordinator of the Kansas City team going for its second straight Super Bowl, has now been passed over two years in a row.

Grant says how Bienemy handled that adversity is something he’s drawing from as he waits for his own head coaching opportunity to arise.

“I’m not satisfied with where I’m at, but I’m content right now with where I’m at,” Grant said. “I’m going to continue to move forward. And when it’s my time, I’m going to be ready to shine.”

Since May, a common reprieve in the fight for social justice is that the conversation can’t be left as a moment — it must be a movement.

Osei takes that one step further.

“It’s not a movement. It’s a lifestyle. It’s understanding that this system was built on systemic oppression. And there are so many tangible ways that can combat it.”

“We’re not pointing the blame here. We’re just stating a fact.”

With the BCCA, Osei’s response to systemic racism in Canada is well underway. And if E+R=O holds firm, a positive outcome should follow.

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Protesters sue Chicago police over alleged attacks and false arrests in wake of George Floyd’s death

Dozens of protesters sued Chicago’s police chief and several officers on Thursday in federal court, accusing them of brutal attacks and false arrests during social justice demonstrations this summer.

The 205-page lawsuit that 60 protesters filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois named Chicago Police Department (CPD) Supt. David Brown as a defendant. It claims officers violated protesters’ constitutional rights and it calls for the department to pay them unspecified monetary damages.

“The CPD and other city agencies responded to these demonstrations with brutal, violent, and unconstitutional tactics that are clearly intended to injure, silence, and intimidate,” the suit said.

Demonstrations calling for racial justice and police reforms unfolded in Chicago and other U.S. cities after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in late May. Some of the demonstrations in Chicago this summer turned violent with rioters destroying property and looters stealing from retail stores.

The suit claims police officers used unjustifiable tactics such as tackling and beating protesters and using chemical agents against them. It also accuses police of falsely arresting protesters and trapping them in enclosed areas.

The city’s law department said it had not been served with the lawsuit.

“It is important to remember that these are allegations at this stage and not proof. We will review the complaint thoroughly, and each allegation it contains, once we have been served and respond through the courts as appropriate,” the department’s spokesperson, Kathleen Fieweger, said in an email to Reuters.

Before the lawsuit, protesters filed more than 520 complaints against Chicago police officers for their conduct during the demonstrations.

Five officers were referred to state and federal law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution while eight were reassigned or relieved of police duties, the suit noted.

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George Floyd’s family sues City of Minneapolis, officers charged in his killing

George Floyd’s family filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Minneapolis and the four police officers charged in his death, alleging the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police department.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, was announced by attorney Ben Crump and other lawyers representing Floyd’s family members.

“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,” Crump said in a statement. “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.”

Crump said the lawsuit seeks to set a precedent “that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people — especially Black people — in the future.”

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers at the scene — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng — are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

All four officers were fired the day after Floyd’s death, which set off protests that spread around the world and turned into a national reckoning on race in the United States.


The four officers charged in Floyd’s death are, from left: Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/File/The Associated Press)

Floyd’s death also sparked calls to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new public safety department. A majority of city council members support the move, saying the department has a long history and culture of brutality that has resisted change.

A public hearing was planned later Wednesday on the proposal, which requires a change in the city’s charter that could go to voters in November.

Body camera footage available by appointment

The lawsuit comes on the same day that a court allowed public viewing by appointment of video from the body cameras of Lane and Kueng. A coalition of news organizations and attorneys for Lane and Kueng have been advocating to make the videos public, saying they would provide a more complete picture of what happened when Floyd was taken into custody. The judge hasn’t said why he’s not allowing the video to be disseminated more widely.

WATCH | What systemic racism in Canada looks like:

The police killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed have brought renewed attention to systemic racism. In Canada, some have been quick to deny its existence. But these experts say racism has been normalized within Canadian institutions. 10:01

According to documents in state probate court, Floyd is survived by 11 known heirs, including five children and six siblings. They live in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and New York. All but one of Floyd’s children are adults. He has no living parents or grandparents.

The families of victims of other high-profile police killings have received high payouts in Minnesota. Last year, Minneapolis agreed to pay $ 20 million US to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an unarmed woman who was shot by an officer after she called 911 to report hearing a possible crime happening behind her home.

The settlement came three days after the officer, Mohamed Noor, was convicted of murdering her and is believed to be the largest payout ever stemming from police violence in Minnesota.

At the time, Mayor Jacob Frey cited Noor’s unprecedented conviction and his failure to identify a threat before he used deadly force as reasons for the large settlement.

The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by an officer in 2016, reached a nearly $ 3 million US settlement with the suburb of St. Anthony, Minn., which employed the officer. The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges.

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Bow Wow on How George Floyd’s Death Shifted His Perspective on the Black Lives Matter Movement (Exclusive)

Bow Wow on How George Floyd’s Death Shifted His Perspective on the Black Lives Matter Movement (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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George Floyd’s brother urges U.S. lawmakers to seize the moment on police reform

A U.S. congressional panel confronting racial injustice and police violence on Wednesday heard an impassioned plea from the younger brother of George Floyd not to let his death in Minneapolis police custody be in vain, lamenting that he “didn’t deserve to die over $ 20.”

Philonise Floyd, 42, was testifying before the House of Representatives judiciary committee along with 11 others at the first congressional hearing to examine the social and political undercurrents that have fuelled weeks of protests nationwide and overseas.

George Floyd’s death on May 25 after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes was the latest in a string of killings of African-American men and women by police that have sparked anger on America’s streets and fresh calls for reforms.

“Hold them accountable when they do something wrong,” Philonise Floyd said. “Teach them what it means to treat people with empathy and respect. Teach them when necessary force is. Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk.”

“He didn’t deserve to die over $ 20,” Floyd said, referencing the call alleging counterfeit money that prompted the police to arrest his brother. “I’m asking you, is that what a Black man’s worth, $ 20?”

Meaningful change

The judiciary panel is preparing to shepherd a sweeping package of legislation, aimed at combating police violence and racial injustice, to the House floor by July 4, and is expected to hold further hearings next week to prepare the bill for a full House vote.

WATCH: Philonise Floyd’s opening statement:

Philonise Floyd asks lawmakers in Washington to make the necessary changes to ensure law enforcement is part of the solution, not the problem. 4:46

“The nation demands and deserves meaningful change,” House judiciary committee chair Jerrold Nadler said at the start of the hearing.

“We must remember that he is not just a cause, a name to be chanted in the streets. He was a man. He had a family. He was known as a gentle giant. He had a rich life that was taken from him far too early and we mourn his loss,” Nadler said.

It is unclear how much, if any, agreement exists on the Democratic proposals from Republicans, who control the Senate. As well, there could be pushback at the state or local level, where many decisions about policing resources are carried out.

Other witnesses included attorney Ben Crump — who has served as attorney for a number of victims’ families, including Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery — and Pastor Darrell Scott, a member of Republican President Donald Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.

WATCH l What House Democrats are asking for:

Democrats in Washington pushed a sweeping police reform package, including a ban on chokeholds and expanded racial bias training, as the debate over police reform goes from city halls across the U.S. to Capitol Hill. 2:46

Crump named several African Americans who have been killed in recent years as a result of police interactions and said “it’s way past time we revise the role of police to become peacekeepers and community partners.”

Crump said the use of force by officers should be commensurate with the threat faced, and he decried the so-called “Blue Shield,” a term used to describe a culture in which police colleagues are encouraged to remain silent over abuses within their ranks.

Scott testified he has been racially profiled and pulled over because of the colour of his skin, but he accused Democrats of being reactionary and taking advantage of Floyd’s killing to advance pet causes.

Scott said the rates of violent crime in too many urban centres beg for an increase in police presence.

House Republicans, like Trump, have responded to protests largely by underscoring their support for police and accusing Democrats of wanting to cut off police funding altogether.

Republican calls defunding ‘insanity’

Ohio Republican Jim Jordan condemned Floyd’s death as a tragedy in his opening statement but stressed that the    vast, vast majority of law enforcement officers are responsible, hardworking, heroic first responders.”

Jordan characterized calls to defund the police as being “pure insanity.”

Jordan earned immediate praise from Trump on Twitter for his opening statement.


The push for defunding is favoured by many progressive groups and activists but opposed by a number of top Democrats including presumptive nominee Joe Biden.

“We need to root out systemic racism across our laws and institutions, and we need to make sure black Americans have a real shot to get ahead.” Biden wrote in an opinion piece published in USA Today on Wednesday.

‘Out of crisis comes opportunity’

The Republican witness list includes the partisan Fox News host Dan Bongino and Angela Underwood Jacobs to speak. Her brother, Patrick Underwood, was a federal officer gunned down last week in Oakland, Calif., in circumstances that are still unclear. There have been no arrests yet in the fatal shooting.

“America is in pain and she is crying. Can you hear her?” said Underwood Jacobs, who is Black.


Lancaster, Calif., city council member Angela Underwood-Jacobs speaks on Wednesday. Her brother was fatally shot last week by an unknown assailant. It is not clear if the killing was tied to protests over George Floyd’s death. (Michael Reynolds/Reuters)

Underwood Jacobs condemned looting and violent acts that have been outgrowth of the nationwide protests and urged the lawmakers to invest in “economic justice” measures in education, jobs and housing that can lift the prospects of the disadvantaged.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo also said it was time to look at some of the root causes that drive criminal behaviour and that the time to enact meaningful reform was “long overdue.”

“Out of crisis comes opportunity,” he said.

Acevedo said his department answers 1.2 million calls annually and that they are disproportionately located in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Ron Davis, chair of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, criticized the Trump administration and its Justice Department for essentially doing away with civil rights mechanisms at its disposal to hold local police departments accountable for their behaviour, a practice the Barack Obama administration encouraged.

On the weekend, a majority of the Minneapolis city council declared their intention to disband the city’s police force. The move comes in response to the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin — a member of that force — and to other local instances of police brutality. Today on Front Burner, we talk about the growing “defund police” movement that says scaling down police budgets and spending the money on social services could be a way to protect civilian lives. 28:33

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