It’s been difficult to separate the political fallout from the actual facts surrounding the death of George Floyd — and a recent settlement may complicate things further.
The Minneapolis City Council approved a $27 million settlement Friday to the family of George Floyd, the man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, according to The New York Times.
“This agreement is a necessary step for all of us to begin to get some closure,” Floyd’s brother Rodney Floyd said about the settlement.
“George’s legacy for those who loved him will always be his spirit of optimism that things can get better, and we hope this agreement does just that — that it makes things a little better in Minneapolis and holds up a light for communities around the country,” he added.
One of the family’s attorneys, Ben Crump, called it “the largest pre-trial civil rights wrongful death settlement in U.S. history” in a statement to KMSP-TV.
“This historic agreement, the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history, makes a statement that George Floyd’s life mattered and by extension that Black lives matter,” Crump said.
“It sends a message that the unjust taking of a Black life will no longer be written off as trivial, unimportant, or unworthy of consequences.”
Floyd’s settlement is the largest in Minneapolis history among excessive force cases, although it is shy of the $38 million paid for the death of Korryn Gaines, a hairstylist from Maryland.
Crump said the family promised $500,000 to help the neighborhood near 38th Street and Chicago Avenue where Floyd was killed, which has been renamed George Floyd Square and has since turned into an anti-police autonomous zone.
Following Floyd’s death, Chauvin was fired and now faces two counts of murder and a second-degree manslaughter charge.
While it’s not unusual for a family to receive a settlement, it is problematic for the ex-officer who awaits trial.
As political activist Jack Posobiec put it in a tweet, the “City of Minneapolis announces record $27 Million settlement with the family of George Floyd while jury selection has not even finished in the trial of Derek Chauvin.”
BREAKING: City of Minneapolis announces record $27 Million settlement with the family of George Floyd while jury selection has not even finished in the trial of Derek Chauvin
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 12, 2021
This complicates Chauvin’s situation further as his lawyers are already contending with selecting a jury in a city that became ground zero for the Black Lives Matter movement’s destructive riots that spread to cities throughout the U.S. in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.
Now the city of Minneapolis, which already set in motion the movement to abolish its police, has effectively admitted to wrongdoing by paying off Floyd’s family before Chauvin’s trial has begun.
That’s not to say Chauvin shouldn’t eventually be convicted of one of those counts he’s facing or that the family doesn’t deserve the payout, but it does muddy the waters for jury selection and even public perception.
The incident was almost immediately exploited by activists and became a seminal moment for a violent anti-police, racist leftist agenda making a fair trial nearly impossible already.
Rather than seeing Floyd as the unfortunate victim of an excessive force case — although even that is questionable — his death has been used to advance the narrative that police are vicious racists who shoot black men for sport.
It seems that Minneapolis was using that narrative as its yardstick when deciding to settle for such an outsized amount.
What the city does with its money is the taxpayers’ concern there — but what it means for Chauvin and police officers like him who find themselves in questionable circumstances is disturbing for those interested in true justice.
But regardless of what Chauvin did or did not do, he’s entitled to a fair trial by a jury of his peers — but “fair” is becoming a slimmer possibility by the day.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.