A protester wearing a mask holds a large black power raised fist in the middle of the crowd that gathered at Columbus Circle.
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Members of George Floyd’s family filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers involved in his fatal arrest in May.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleges that the officers and the city violated Floyd’s constitutional rights. The family seeks unspecified financial damages.
Ben Crump, an attorney for the family, said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit that the case was “unprecedented.”
“With this lawsuit, we seek to set a precedent to make it financially prohibitive” for police to “wrongfully kill marginalized people, especially Black people, in the future,” Crump said.
The four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are facing charges. A separate federal investigation into the arrest, which sparked weeks of global protests against police brutality, is also underway. Minnesota is also pursuing an investigation into the “policies, procedures, and practices” of the Minneapolis Police Department over the past decade.
Video of Floyd’s Memorial Day arrest shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while Floyd cries out that he cannot breather. According to charging documents, Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes.
The suit names Chauvin as well as the other officers involved in the arrest, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. The lawsuit claims that Chauvin’s actions were unreasonable and that each of the other officers had a duty to intervene to stop him.
The suit also claims that Minneapolis “frequently fails to terminate or discipline officers who demonstrate patterns of misconduct.” It alleges that the Minneapolis Police Department “has observed unlawful or otherwise improper conduct by Chauvin throughout his career but has tolerated it and refused to remedy or mitigate it.”
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
An attorney for Chauvin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Attorneys for the other officers could not immediately be reached. A spokesperson for the city of Minneapolis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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