US & Canada

George Floyd's death: Family sues Minneapolis in civil suit

George Floyd Image copyright Twitter/Ruth Richardson
Image caption George Floyd repeatedly told the police officers who detained him that he could not breathe

George Floyd's family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and four officers charged in his death.

The suit alleges the police officers violated Mr Floyd's rights when they detained him, and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force and racism to take root in its police force.

Mr Floyd's death is part of a "public health crisis" in black America, said the family's attorney Ben Crump.

New body camera videos have emerged showing Mr Floyd's final moments.

In the footage, Mr Floyd is seen pleading with officers as they try to force him into their car, US media say. Mr Floyd reportedly tells police he could not breathe, and asks if he could lie on the ground instead.

A district judge allowed news outlets to view the two videos, which show the clearest picture yet of Mr Floyd's last moments in the Minnesota city on 25 May.

All of the officers involved have since been fired and charged over his death. Derek Chauvin, who in a separate video filmed by eyewitnesses was seen kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers - Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. A Minneapolis judge has set a tentative trial date for the four on 8 March, 2021.

The death of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed African American, sparked huge protests across the US against police brutality and racism.

Civil rights attorney Mr Crump announced the Floyd family's lawsuit against Minneapolis on Wednesday, filed in US District Court in Minnesota.

Mr Crump said the legal action will seek unspecified monetary damages on behalf of Mr Floyd's children and siblings.

"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," he said in a statement.

What did the videos show?

The body camera recordings from Mr Lane and Mr Kueng form part of the ongoing case against all four police officers.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill allowed news outlets to view the videos, which have so far not been made public. Previously, only transcripts were made public.

Image copyright Minneapolis police
Image caption From left: Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane

The videos begin as Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng are seen responding to a call over a fake banknote being used at a local market, according to CNN.

It says that seconds after speaking with a store employee, the officers were at the door of the car Mr Floyd was in and, after an initial knock with a torch, Mr Lane points a gun at Mr Floyd and orders him to put his hands up.

Mr Floyd is seen sobbing and pleading with the officers, and is then pulled from the vehicle as the officers struggle to handcuff him.

A big struggle ensues when Mr Lane and Mr Kueng attempt to put him in the police car.

Eventually, Mr Floyd falls out of the car, and it is at this point that the other two officers, Mr Thao and Mr Chauvin, appear in the videos, CNN reports.

They all try to restrain the suspect, and Mr Chauvin is later seen kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck.

During this time Mr Floyd is heard more than 20 times telling the officers that he cannot breathe.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption"I remember George Floyd as me"

More on George Floyd's death