Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, an attorney for the family of George Floyd, announced in an interview with CNN plans to file a lawsuit against Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and others in the death of Floyd who died after Chauvin allegedly caused his death by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck while handcuffed.
A citizen’s cell phone video that was posted on social media seemingly shows Chauvin kneeling down over Floyd with his knee on his neck while Floyd called out for help. It appeared that the now-fired police officer had his knee on his kneck for over 8 minutes during which time Floyd stopped crying out for help and stopped moving.
Crump said in the interview after questioned about Chauvin’s personal pension worth almost $1 million: “The family intends on holding Derek Chauvin fully accountable in every aspect, criminal and civil, for the wrongful death of George Floyd. When you consider that he still may be eligible for this pension. Well, that suggests, Victor, that the system is all wrong.”
Other Officers to be Sued as Well
Crump also said they anyone involved such as the three officers that were on the video watching but not doing anything to help Floyd, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao, will be held accountable as well. This would open up the lawsuit to additional defendants and possibly increasing any award or settlement in the case.
Minnesota law allows for lawsuits against the state for the actions of their police officers, but not for lawsuits against the police officer personally. This is called qualified immunity, and it protects officers and other civil servants for being personally sued for their actions while on the job so long as the conduct was within the course and scope of the duties.
Many have pointed to the death of Floyd as a reason why this doctrine should be toppled. If this were to happen, then any pensions such as Chauvin’s $1 million account would be fair game.
Supporters of the doctrine say that if this were to happen, it would cause many officers to resign and others not to join because a mistake can ruin the officer financially.