Minneapolis City Council agrees to pay $27 million to family of George Floyd
In what is claimed to be "the largest pretrial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. history," the far-left Minneapolis City Council has voted 13 to 0 to pay $27 million to the family of George Floyd. This happened as a jury is being seated in the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin, accused of third-degree murder, second-degree unintentional murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Floyd died of a cardiac arrest according to the coroner, after Chauvin subdued him using a knee on his neck, as he was trained to do, when Floyd resisted arrest for passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
It is hard to see this massive payout to the family of a career criminal who resisted arrest and died of a excited delirium as anything other than an attempt by the progressives on the council to influence to the jury to convict Chauvin. Paul Mirengoff also sees it that way:
Given its timing, the announcement looks to me like an attempt to prevent Chauvin from getting a fair trial, assuming there was ever any chance of him getting one in Minneapolis. But even if I'm wrong in saying that this is the city's motive, it is almost certainly the effect of its announcement.
Even the Washington Post, as Mirengoff observes, is troubled by the effect on the ability of Chauvin to receive a fair trial:
The settlement could have implications for the ongoing criminal trial of Derek Chauvin. ... As jury selection began this week, Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, sought to block mention of any possible payout by the city to the Floyd family, arguing it would be prejudicial. ...
[L]egal observers questioned if publicity over the settlement, which came on day four of jury selection, could result in a possible mistrial.
"I think it's a potential disaster for Chauvin," said Mary Moriarty, former chief Hennepin County public defender. She said if she were Chauvin's attorney, she would request a mistrial.
"The concern is that jurors will be aware that the city gave George Floyd's family a great deal of money," Moriarty said. "And I suspect the jurors will have a hard time avoiding the news, even if they try."
The council no doubt is worried about more riots if Chauvin is acquitted, as he well might be if jurors consider the scientific evidence of the cause of death. Chances of a fair trial have already been diminished by the obvious threat of retaliation against jurors should an acquittal be handed down. Even though their names have been kept confidential, media reports identify their occupations and other personal facts that could lead to identifying their names.
Another concern is the deification of Floyd. As the Star-Tribune notes:
... $500,000 of [the $27 million] will be used "for the benefit of the community around 38th and Chicago," where Floyd died. Mayor Jacob Frey's office quickly said he would approve it as well.
That intersection has been blocked off from traffic, at first with improvised barricades, and renamed "George Floyd Square" as a memorial to the career criminal who was imprisoned for, among other crimes, a home invasion robbery in which he terrorized a pregnant woman with a gun to her belly.
Floyd was depicted as an angel during one of his three nationally televised funerals (YouTube screen grab — cropped).
The rhetoric of Floyd's attorney, as well as city council politicians, is just sickening to me:
"This is a message that the unjust taking of Black life will no longer be written off as trivial, unimportant or unworthy of consequences," attorney Ben Crump said during a news conference Friday afternoon. (snip)
"We know that no amount of money can ever address the intense pain and trauma caused by his death, for George Floyd's family and to so many people in our community who are grieving," City Council President Lisa Bender said. "Minneapolis has been fundamentally changed by this time of racial reckoning."
The railroading of Chauvin is a travesty. I cannot understand how the trial was not moved to a remote corner of the state where the possibility of rioters intimidating jurors would be diminished. This settlement will further prejudice the jury, as news of it will inevitably reach the jury. Daily crowds outside the heavily guarded courthouse increase the pressure on them.
It was the cowardly withdrawal of police from the Third Precinct police station and the early refusal to call out the National Guard — decisions that fall on the shoulders of Mayor Jacob Frey — that set off a nationwide wave of lethal riots that scarred cities across the nation. Notably, Detroit, where the mayor and police took strong action to prevent riots, was largely spared the destruction, so we know that it could have been prevented elsewhere, had Democrats running blue cities taken forceful action.
Correction: While George Floyd's toxicology report listed a high level of Fentanyl, his actual cause of death was excited delirium that caused cardiac arrest.