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George Floyd's Family Files Civil Lawsuit Against Minneapolis And Police, Lawyers Say

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

The family of George Floyd has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and the four former police officers involved in the Black man's killing on Memorial Day. Civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, along with co-counsel Antonio Romanucci, announced the lawsuit at a news conference Wednesday in Minneapolis.

"This is a crisis in Black America — a public health crisis," Crump told reporters. "While all of America is dealing with the public health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, Black America has to deal with another public health pandemic of police brutality."

In the complaint filed in federal court, attorneys allege that the four former officers involved in Floyd's arrest on May 25 — Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — violated Floyd's Fourth Amendment rights with the "excessive use of unjustified, excessive, illegal and deadly force."

An attorney for Chauvin declined to comment on the lawsuit. All four men have since been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and are facing criminal charges.

Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The other three former officers did not intervene during the incident, and they face charges of aiding and abetting murder.

The former officers have a tentative trial date of March 8.

But Floyd's family is not satisfied with the city's response.

The city government is also named in the lawsuit, which argues that local officials — "with deliberate indifference" — have failed to correct the police department's dangerous arrest practices and train officers properly in the use of force.

The lawsuit does not specify the damages that the family is seeking. But during the news conference Wednesday, Crump said the goal is to make it "financially prohibitive" in the future to "wrongfully kill marginalized people, especially Black people."

"This is the tipping point for policing in America," he added.

The Star Tribune reported that Crump has won more than 200 police brutality lawsuits, including suits on behalf of the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

In addition to Floyd's family, Crump is currently also representing the families of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.