Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed African American man, was killed on May 25 after a white former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers involved in Floyd’s death – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – were also charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
His family said that the police officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him, adding that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump filed the suit seeking monetary damages on behalf of Floyd’s children and siblings with the District Court in Minneapolis, calling the case “the tipping point for policing in America”. It also sought that a receiver be appointed to ensure that the city of Minneapolis properly trains and supervises officers in the future.
“This complaint shows what we have said all along, that 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.”
The lawsuit seeks to set a precedent “that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalised people – especially Black people – in the future”, according to Crump.
Attorney Erik Nilsson said the city is reviewing the lawsuit and will respond to it.
Floyd’s death, which was captured on video by bystanders, led to nationwide protests and renewed the debate about racism.
New police body camera footage
Meanwhile, new police body camera videos emerged from the day of Floyd’s killing, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday. It shows the entire duration that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe”. Previously, only transcripts were made public.
Floyd is heard saying “I’m not a bad guy” as officers tried to wrestle him into a car. “I’m not that kind of guy,” Floyd continues. “I just had Covid, man, I don’t want to go back to that.”
An onlooker pleads with Floyd to stop struggling, saying: “You can’t win”. Floyd says he does not want to win.
The video also showed an apparent lack of urgency to provide medical aid to Floyd in the moments leading up to his death.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill allowed news organisations to view the videos, but not publish them.