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George Floyd's family sues city and Minneapolis officers, citing 'reckless disregard' of civil rights

Randy Furst, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS -- The family of George Floyd is suing the city of Minneapolis and the four officers involved in his death, citing a failure in proper police training and a racist departmental culture that led to a "reckless disregard" of Floyd's civil rights.

"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," attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd's family, 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. This is an unprecedented case, and with this lawsuit we seek to set a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people -- especially Black people -- in the future."

Messages were left seeking comment from city and police officials.

Floyd died May 25 after former officer Derek Chauvin pinned his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd, who was handcuffed, said he couldn't breathe as bystanders pleaded with Chauvin to stop. 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.

The lawsuit contends that the officers used deadly force in non-deadly circumstances, despite receiving restraint training after the 2010 death of David Smith, who died while being held down by Minneapolis police officers.

The lawsuit also alleges that the department engaged in a culture of "warrior-style" or "killology" training, failed to terminate dangerous officers, and fostered a culture of racism, leading to a violation of Floyd's Fourth Amendment rights. The suit requests an unspecified amount of damages.


"The Floyd family deserves justice for the inhumane way in which officers with the Minneapolis Police Department killed Mr. Floyd," said attorney L. Chris Stewart. "Furthermore, the city has a responsibility to acknowledge the history and practices of excessive force and impunity with its police force, as well as shortfalls in officer training and discipline."

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