In 2021, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay George Floyd’s family $27 million for his murder by police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020. Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison in 2022, but the City of Lakes continues to pay for Chauvin’s actions when he was on the force.
Today (April 13), the Minneapolis City Council announced that it will pay $8.9 million to settle lawsuits filed by two people who claimed Chauvin pressed his knee into their necks while arresting them. This was the same technique used on that fateful May 2020 day that choked out George Floyd’s last breaths. John Pope Jr. will receive $7.5 million and Zoya Code will receive $1.375 million for Chauvin’s actions, both of which stem from arrests in 2017.
Mayor Jacob Frey apologized to all victims of Chauvin at a news conference today. According to The Associated Press, he declared that if police supervisors “had done the right thing, George Floyd would not have been murdered.”
“He should have been fired in 2017,” Frey added of Chauvin. “He should have been held accountable in 2017.”
Pope and Code, who are both Black, named Chauvin and several other officers in their lawsuits. They alleged police misconduct, excessive force, and racism. They also pointed out that the city knew Chauvin had a record of misconduct but didn’t do anything to stop him.
Police Chief Brian O’Hara echoed Frey’s frustrations with officers and other law enforcement officials not stopping Chauvin when they should have. “[We’re] forced to reckon once again with the deplorable acts of someone who has proven to be a national embarrassment,” he said in a statement, citing a “systemic failure” in the Minneapolis Police Department as the reason for the years of oversight.
“I am appalled at the repetitive behavior of this coward and disgusted by the inaction and acceptance of that behavior by members of this department,” he stated blisteringly. “Such conduct is a disgrace to the badge and an embarrassment to what is truly a very noble profession.”