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Minneapolis Has Announced $27 Million Settlement With Family Of George Floyd

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The city of Minneapolis has announced a $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd over Floyd's death at the hands of police officers last spring. The announcement comes amid jury selection in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer who held his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. NPR's Adrian Florido is in Minneapolis, where this is all happening. He joins us now.

And, Adrian, I want to start with this settlement. What other details have you learned?

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Well, the settlement is in response to a federal wrongful death lawsuit that George Floyd's family filed last year against the city of Minneapolis and the four officers who participated in Floyd's arrest. The city council approved the settlement this afternoon. So did Mayor Jacob Frey. Those officials then joined Floyd's family at a press conference, and here's what Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said there.

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BEN CRUMP: This historic agreement, the largest pretrial settlement in a police civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history, makes a statement that George Floyd deserved better than what we witnessed on May 25, 2020, that George Floyd's life matters and, by extension, Black lives matter.

FLORIDO: While most of the money in the settlement, Audie, goes to the Floyd family, it also includes half a million dollars for community improvement efforts in the neighborhood where Floyd was killed.

CORNISH: What does the size of this settlement signify about the importance of this case?

FLORIDO: Well, it speaks to its massive profile. This is arguably the most consequential police brutality case ever in our country, and that, of course, puts a lot of pressure on the city. Here's Mayor Jacob Frey talking about the impact of that viral video of George Floyd's death.

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JACOB FREY: A centuries-in-the-making reckoning around racial justice struck Minneapolis like a thunderbolt, and that strike reverberated across the entire globe as we all stood and watched as George Floyd was killed.

FLORIDO: And, you know, as police killings have attracted more attention in recent years, we've also just seen the size of these settlements balloon. Before this settlement, the previous record was $20 million, given to the family of a white Minneapolis woman killed in 2019. Last year Breonna Taylor's family in Kentucky got 12 million. Five years ago, the family of Eric Garner in New York got under 6 million.

CORNISH: This announcement happened just a few blocks from the trial of Derek Chauvin. Can you talk about it having any bearing on the criminal trials in this case?

FLORIDO: It will not have any bearing on the criminal trials. They're completely separate. Chauvin's trial is proceeding as scheduled with jury selection. About half of the 12-person jury has been seated at this point, and opening statements in that case are set to begin at the end of the month.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Adrian Florido in Minneapolis.

Thanks for your reporting.

FLORIDO: Thank you, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.