Minneapolis, MN – As the first week of jury selection for the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd came to an end, the Minneapolis City Council approved a $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family – the largest pre-trial wrongful-death settlement in U.S. history.
The councilmembers voted 13 to 0 to approve the unprecedented payday for Floyd’s family to settle the lawsuit they filed on July 15, 2020, WCCO reported.
The settlement included the stipulation that $500,000 would be put toward enhancing the area near where Floyd’s died at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
Attorneys for the family celebrated the win as historic, WCCO reported.
“That the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever would be for the life of a black man sends a powerful message that black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end,” notoriously anti-cop attorney Ben Crump bragged after the announcement was made.
Crump is representing Floyd’s family as well as a host of other families who have accused police officers of killing unarmed black suspects, WCCO reported.
“Mr. Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” Crump said he initially filed the suit.
The suit accused the city of having allowed a culture of excessive force and racism to grow within the police department, WCCO reported.
State probate court documents showed the Floyd was survived by five children and six sibling who live in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and New York.
This is not the first settlement of its sort signed off on by the Minneapolis City Council in recent history, WCCO reported.
In 2019, councilmembers approved a $20 million settlement for the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was fatally shot by former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor.
However, that settlement didn’t come until three days after Noor was convicted of third-degree murder, WCCO reported.
The trial of Chauvin only began on March 8 and the trials of the three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting in Floyd’s murder won’t begin until August.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill on Thursday morning reinstated third-degree murder charges against Chauvin.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin on Oct. 22, 2020 but let the other charges stand.
The state appealed the decision and on March 5, the appeals court reversed Cahill’s decision and sent it back Hennepin County District Court, WCCO reported.
In their ruling, the judges wrote that Cahill should have followed the precedent set in the case of former Officer Noor, who was convicted of third-degree murder of Ruszczyk Damond in 2017.
The Minnesota Appeals Court upheld Noor’s conviction in February and that prompted prosecutors to appeal the judge’s earlier ruling on the third-degree murder charges, WCCO reported.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading Chauvin’s prosecution, celebrated the decision of the three-judge appellate panel.
“We believe the charge of 3rd-degree murder, in addition to manslaughter and felony murder, reflects the gravity of the allegations against Mr. Chauvin,” Ellison said. “Adding this charge is an important step forward in the path toward justice. We look forward to presenting all charges to the jury in Hennepin County.”
Experts have said it would be easier for prosecutors to get a conviction on the third-degree murder charge, WCCO reported.
Chauvin is currently charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
On Thursday morning, before the start of the third day of jury selection, Cahill reinstated the third-degree murder charge against the defendant.