George Floyd’s $27 Million Settlement and What It Means for His Murder Trial

By Cirien Saadeh Mar 15, 2021

The Minneapolis City Council has announced—following a session that was closed to the public—a $27 million settlement for the family of George Floyd. That announcement came on March 12 and the amount is apparently “historic” in that it is the largest settlement that the City of Minneapolis has paid out to the family of a victim of police violence. 

Floyd’s family is represented in part by civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump. He spoke at a Friday afternoon press conference announcing the agreement.

“After the eyes of the world rested on Minneapolis in its darkest hour, now the city can be a beacon of hope and light and change for cities across America and across the globe,” said Crump, in The New York Times. 

According to the same New York Times article, Minneapolis City administrator Mark Ruff has said that the settlement would come from city reserves. 

“I’m happy that the Floyd family is getting paid [but] I think they should have gotten a larger settlement. I think it should be noted that it’s not a significantly larger settlement than what Justine Damond’s family received,” said Marjaan Sirdar, a community organizer and journalist who hosts the People Power Podcast. The family of Justine Damond, a white woman killed by Minneapolis police in 2017, received a $20 million settlement. 

“Damond’s death was not nearly as publicized, not nearly as consequential. But, of course, the city had to go above and beyond to prove they’re not racist right after they gave [Jamar] Clark’s family 1 percent of what they gave Damond,” said Sirdar. Clark was killed by police in 2015 and his family received $200,000 for his death.

Half a million of that $27 million awarded to Floyd’s family will be donated to the area surrounding George Floyd Square, a predominantly Black community located in South Minneapolis at the intersection of 38th St and Chicago Avenue, in the neighborhood of Powderhorn Park. Details on how that $500,000 donation will be used remain unknown. 

Prosecutors connected to the city are concerned that the timing of the settlement may be used by former MPD officer Derek Chauvin’s lawyers to request a “mistrial.” Chauvin is charged with second-degree felony murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. 

Former Hennepin County Public Defender Mary Moriarty explained via Twitter, that the decision and timing of the settlement could be used to argue that the case was prejudiced.  Moriarty notes that Chauvin’s lawyers are concerned about the session “leak” and the announcement at a Friday afternoon press conference. 

Prior to jury selection continuing on March 15, Chauvin’s lawyers have raised the possibility of arguing again for the trial to be moved to another venue. They also requested that Hennepin County Trial Judge Peter Cahill re-question the seven jurors chosen last week on their knowledge of the settlement, which Cahill agreed to. Chauvin’s lawyers also requested a continuance and additional peremptory strikes. Cahill did not grant the strikes, but agreed to consider the request for a continuation, or trial delay.