George Floyd’s family filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers charged in his death.
The suit says the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force.
The civil rights lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, was announced by attorney Ben Crump and other lawyers representing Floyd’s family members, AP reported.
“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,” 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.”
Crump said 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.”
Floyd, an African American, who was handcuffed, died May 25.
Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, had pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin is now 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.
All four officers were fired the day after Floyd’s death, which set off protests that spread around the world and turned into a national reckoning on race in America.
Floyd’s death also sparked calls to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new public safety department.
A majority of City Council members support the move, saying the department has a long history and culture of brutality that has resisted change.
A public hearing was planned later Wednesday on the proposal, which requires a change in the city’s charter that could go to voters in November.