Jul 15, 2020
George Floyd’s Family Sues Minneapolis and Officers Press Conference Transcript July 15
George Floyd’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and the four officers charged in his death. Read the transcript of the Floyd family attorney’s press conference here.
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You will not walk away from these situations anymore in this country with a simple arrest, and get over it. You will feel the pain and the understanding of having to account for the actions of your officers. And the only way that’s done is with financial responsibility. You’re not going to just walk away, because the victim was African American anymore, because these lawsuits will be coming. And then you are going to have to come before all of the media and go against all the sympathy, and all of the well wishes that you had for the family as an elected official, and go reverse and fight all of us in court. So it’s really just about being true. If you do think that black lives matter, then understand that we’re going to make sure that there is a black worth and value behind that. We’re not walking away silently anymore after arrests.
So that’s the purpose of this, and to ensure that their families are taken care of forever. And to ensure that this stops, that’s been said. Because I guarantee you another city won’t allow someone like Derek Chauvin, who’s a training officer, to be on their force for so long with that type of behavior, if they know at the end of the day, they got to write a check. Because that’s what they care about more than all of this. And we understand that language. So the general public may not, but to get full change, it’s marching in the streets, but it’s also marching into that courtroom in a civil case. And that’s what we’re here for.
Attorney Crump: (01:36)
Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Tony. We will take some of your questions now.
Speaker 3: (01:44)
Attorney [inaudible 00:01:45], we just saw the bodycam video of the officers involved in the arrest. A couple of points just sound out from that bodycam video. There’s one, Mr Floyd began saying that he cannot breathe long before he was on the ground, and two, there seems to be a couple of efforts by Officer Lane in this case, to express some concern and help him breathe. Does that change anything?
Attorney Crump: (02:11)
Well as Attorney Romanucci, Attorney Stewart just articulated, it’s just deliberate in difference. Even with him saying, “I can’t breathe,” they still put him face down, had him handcuffed. He was clearly restrained as Attorney Jeff [inaudible 00:02:32] litigated in the David Smith case, this was nothing new for the city of Minneapolis. It was in fact foreseeable that if they didn’t address this issue, what happened to George Floyd or somebody like George Floyd, was predictable. And so these officers who were all trained as first responders, who were all trained to be able to deescalate situations, what we see on the bodycam video and what we hear on the bodycam video tells us the policies and procedures that they in fact followed, despite what they’re going to try to tell us in court that they trained them to do. And that’s what this lawsuit is about, as my co-counsel so ably articulated; it really is about trying to change the culture and the behavior of policing. We would have hoped that Georgia Floyd did not have to sacrifice his life to bring about these changes, but now we’re here, and we’re at a tipping point, Minneapolis.
Speaker 4: (03:46)
Why would the city of Minneapolis and the city council and the mayor [inaudible 00:03:53], that is their reputation, very liberal, why would they sit for how long on wording in their Use of Force policy? Why would they sit, and how many over governments, large and small from villages to big cities across this country, are sitting right now with wording and language that allows what happened to [inaudible 00:04:17]?
Attorney Crump: (04:18)
That is a great question in this great team of lawyers, we are going to address that head on, because really we’ve been talking about the deliberate indifference of the police officers, I think we can add that it’s the deliberate indifference also of their elected officials cozying up to the police unions, not wanting to put the safety and the protection of the citizens paramount. And so that’s an issue that we after address. I don’t know if Attorney Stewart or Attorney Romanucci want to-
I mean we all handle these across the country, and the one thing we have to look at immediately is the Use of Force policy. Most of them are extremely vague. They have loopholes. They’re not written clearly. I even talked to some of the officers who don’t fully even understand what they’re trying to say, what they can and can’t do, because they’re so vague but they are done on purpose, because if they’re strict, if they’re tight, if they are rules and regulations of exactly what you can and cannot do, we wouldn’t be here today, but it’s open and vague to allow for that behavior to happen.
Attorney Crump: (05:24)
Hold on, let Tony address that.
Speaker 5: (05:25)
[crosstalk 00:05:25] has the family been able to see the video and what have they said?
Attorney Crump: (05:30)
They obviously saw the video. They have not heard all of the audio. And if this was your loved one, how would it make you feel? A person who you grew up with as a little boy, who was your role model, your protector, to see him being tortured? I mean, let’s talk about what this was. This torture. People asked me, “Why do you think that George Floyd killing has galvanized people around the globe?” It is because he was literally tortured to death, not in a third world country, but here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States of America in 2020. And why? We submit to you, it had a lot to do with the color of his skin. And that’s why there’s a public health crisis that we in black America have to deal with, on top of dealing with the public health crisis of the coronavirus, because everything seemed to have stopped and got shut down in America, doing the coronavirus pandemic, except racism and discrimination and police brutality against black and brown people in America. Tony wanted to address that last question.
That Use of Force question is very important, because the use of force, police we know are allowed to use force, but only commensurate with the force that is used against them. That’s why it’s called a continuum scale. And there’s a scaling which you’re supposed to follow that if somebody continues to resist, or is running away, or is using some sort of force against you, that you’re allowed to use a certain amount of force back. But when you look at this event, this event George Floyd was prone on the ground, where there was force coming up from the ground force, being pressed on his back. He was compliant, he was restrained, therefore, the force that the police were using turned into deadly force, they didn’t have to use their gun on him, or a taser, or a shotgun. That knee became deadly force with every second that ticked away. Every second, that ticked away, that was a Fourth Amendment violation.
Now please keep in mind, this is the civil case. The burden of proof on a civil case for the Fourth Amendment is a preponderance of the evidence standard. That means the way we explained it in court, if somebody tips the scales of justice, this so much, we prove our case. And the 14th Amendment, it’s deliberate indifference. It’s a little bit of a different standard. And the criminal case, this is not the criminal case, that’s beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a significant different standard. We’re not here to talk about the criminal case. We’re here to talk about the civil standards, the use of force that was used against them, that turned into deadly force, which killed them because of training policies. Training policies that were bargained into the union contract, which gives the ability for police officers to be accountable for their behavior and for Minneapolis to be less transparent. You’re right; they have a reputation for being liberal, but if you don’t change the Use of Force policies and, and train, you will have continued failures, as in the death of George Floyd.
Speaker 7: (09:29)
Speaker 8: (09:35)
Just to clarify, [inaudible 00:09:37] the family [inaudible 00:09:37] have you been able to see the body camera video that was released, or that we were allowed to see today? And then just to add on, can you clarify, because this is a civil case, does this normally happen in terms of time? [inaudible 00:09:37] we need to wait until the criminal case is done?
Attorney Crump: (09:39)
Well, that’s going to be a decision made by the judge, because oftentimes justice delayed is justice denied. We have cases where black people were killed on video, and five years has eclipsed, and still no civil justice. I know Chris, I know that he’s fighting with Alton Sterling. So these things are literally left up to the judge. You have cases that happened like Stephon Clark, within the 12 months they are resolved when cities want to try to do the right thing. When they want to try to send a message that, “We care about all life”. And so it really is as Tony and Chris was saying, Mayor Frey and the city commission, and the elected officials who said all those things, those attributes, the outrage about the tragic killing of George Floyd, let’s see their actions match their words. And I like, as Chris says, “Show black worth”. Because far too often, the reason we have to keep chanting Black Lives Matter is because some of our brothers and sisters in America, they can quote the Declaration of Independence, but it really is, do you believe it? Do you really believe minorities and people of color are equal and deserving of equal consideration? Because we know if that would have been somebody else besides a black man, on their face, handcuffed and a knee on the neck, in the back, for eight minutes and 46 seconds. My Lord.
Speaker 7: (11:24)
Speaker 8: (11:29)
Can you answer that aspect? Have you been able to see the body footage-
Attorney Crump: (11:30)
Oh, we’re set to see the bodycam video; we haven’t seen it yet.
Speaker 7: (11:36)
What about medial training, Mr Crump, because more than one officer appears to think that he’s not going to die, Mr Floyd isn’t going to pass away because he’s able to talk?
Attorney Crump: (11:45)
Okay yeah, I’ll briefly mention it, [inaudible 00:11:45] my co-counsels to also address that issue. But it is clear that the audio tells us the mentality of what they’re thinking. When one of the officers say, “I believe he’s having a medical crisis”, and what is officer’s Chauvin’s response? “Well, that’s why the ambulance is coming”. You know, he doesn’t take his knee off his neck, even though lay people can appreciate the medical crisis that he’s going through. The fact that they’re saying he can’t breathe. They’re saying that he’s passed out. They’re saying that, you’re killing him. Even George Floyd is telling them, “They going to kill me”. If that is not a indication that this is a serious medical crisis from people who are supposed to be trained as first responders, it is absolutely the textbook definition of deliberate indifference. And the only question is why would they treat this human being like that in America, in 2020?
Attorney Crump: (12:57)
Again, we are talking about this public health crisis that black people have to deal with, that has been going on far longer than the coronavirus called police brutality. Either y’all want to address that medical… Okay. Come on Jeff, after Chris.
[inaudible 00:13:12] it’s very important that question that was asked is, do we have to fight this case for years, and years, and years? The answer to that is, “No”. This case could be resolved in 30 days if city council, when the mayor wanted it to be. It’s about what do they care, and how do they envision George Floyd? It’s simple as that. I’ve had some that have resolved in 60 days, or 30 days, because they cared about the case. I’ve had some that have taken four or five years, because they knew that they can outwait all of the media, and outwait all the protestors, and you’ll be gone in a few years. So it’s really about who your elected officials are, and what they care about. So we can wait and go to trial. We’ve all racked up some massive numbers of trial before, if they want to do that, that’s fine. Or if they want to come and sit down and talk and show respect for George Floyd, we’re open to that also.
Attorney Crump: (14:02)
Hold on one second, Jeff [inaudible 00:14:04], and then I’ll get right to you.
Jeff S.: (14:06)
I just wanted to address the question on the medical training, because it’s something we’ve historically seen here before. When they killed David Smith, the Chief of Police disclaimed the level of training they had with respect to medical care and medical treatment. So our police department has been empowered to be able to use deadly force, to take people’s lives, but then when it comes time to pay attention to their medical condition, to make sure that their wellbeing is cared for, they disclaim the knowledge and the training that they’ve had, and their leaders help them excuse that. And we’ve seen that historically in this city for years. And I think that was a very important question that you asked.
[inaudible 00:14:52] over here, Paul [Delinwith 00:14:53], I’m with Fox [inaudible 00:14:54], I saw you in the courthouse a couple of weeks ago. You were here, I thought perhaps maybe having meetings, were you in fact just doing some research [inaudible 00:15:02] here? Were you already in meetings with local officials? And second, this community went through a significant blow several years ago, [inaudible 00:15:10] shot and killed, there was a $20 million lawsuit settlement the city agree to soon after the criminal trial. Could you talk about that case, and how that may set up a precedent, setting one that you’re interested in with George Floyd?
Attorney Crump: (15:25)
Well, what’s your name again?
Paul. Paul Delinwith.
Attorney Crump: (15:27)
Now Paul, you don’t expect these team of lawyers to give up our strategy, do you? No, seriously, we’ve been working nonstop day and night on this case in Minneapolis, and outside of Minneapolis. In fact, given testimony before Congress, and talking with the senators and so forth to achieve real systematic reform. As Chris and Tony have said, it really is up to the city at this point, as to do they want to be part of the solution here? Because this is a teachable moment for America. I mean the whole world is watching Minneapolis, Minnesota. The whole world is watching the leadership. Their political legacies are going to be defined by how they showed and demonstrated responsible leadership on this, horrific death. And so when you think about the precedents that were set with the [inaudible 00:16:32] case and other cases, we know that this is an unprecedented case. A unprecedented case. And we with this lawsuit do want to set a precedence to make it financially prohibitive that the police won’t kill marginalized people and black people in the future in America. And so we have to try to make it financially disadvantage… Forgive me, I want to say something very clear here. We want to decentivize them financially to do their job of training the officers, because the hashtags are happening so fast in America, that we can’t keep up with them.
Speaker 11: (17:28)
So there’s no specific number that you’re seeking?
Attorney Crump: (17:31)
We are seeking to make sure that justice is done by the family of George Floyd. Last question?
Speaker 13: (17:38)
[crosstalk 00:17:38] financially, the financial business sense, [inaudible 00:17:44]? And in the lawsuit [inaudible 00:17:38] a number of other case that [inaudible 00:17:48], you would say so far they haven’t been financially prohibitive?
Attorney Crump: (17:54)
Well, the real issue is how much do cities and municipalities have to pay to tell their police departments that enough is enough. We’re not going to use excessive fatal force when it comes to killing black and brown people and marginalized people. Because the history of America has been that they could do that and nobody would be held accountable. Whether criminal or civil. So this is the tipping point. I mean this George Floyd tragedy that has been seen almost a billion times, that video has been seen all over the world. If we don’t get this right, then we’re going to see not only more cities burning in America, but we’re going to see people heartbroken. Can you imagine his family? Can you imagine his children looking at that video with him being tortured to death by the people who are supposed to protect and serve them? If this was your father, or your brother, or your sister, or your husband, or your wife, what amount would it take to say justice? What amount? That is what we intend to put before the city of Minneapolis, either with the city commission or in the great Halls of Justice, where last time I checked, George Floyd as a black man, still was an American citizen who deserved every constitutional right, in fact, was entitled to it. Do America believe in the words of Thomas Jefferson?
Attorney Crump: (19:37)
Okay, last one.
Your observation, that there have been many settlements like this in the past, what that is, if you read the complaint, you’ll see that’s, what’s called, “A ratified behavior”. It’s a learned behavior that if you will be covered for you will be protected, we will pay for you. And at a certain point that has to stop, right? Or else the behavior continues, unless you’re taught otherwise. And Minneapolis Police Department Officers, especially one like Derek Chauvin who’s had what, 18 or 20 citizen complaints, and none of them where he has been meaningfully disciplined, that’s what results in ratified behavior. Learned behavior. So what Ben and Chris are saying, that unless we stop ratified behavior, that list will continue. We’ll keep adding to that list of numbers over and over again, until there’s a number where everybody wakes up and says, we have to turn this police department upside down on its training, and make sure that everybody understands what the rules are. I haven’t seen anybody run red lights. I’ve only seen people go through green lights. Police officers need to follow those same rules of the Minneapolis Police Department, as we do in everyday life.
Attorney Crump: (21:12)
Speaker 14: (21:14)
Thanks everybody. If you have any additional questions or you need the complaint or press release email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you what you need. Thank you.