Timeline: George Floyd Case
“I can’t breathe.”
These words spoken by George Floyd as he suffocated under the knee of a police officer have haunted the nation since his death in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
46-year-old George Floyd was the latest in a long line of deaths caused by a criminal justice system that has disproportionately harmed black lives. As cities across the country are rocked by protests and the largest civil unrest in recent history, lawyers, activists, and other supporters have rallied to demand large scale reform to the police system and justice for the many black lives lost to police brutality.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has taken up the case for the family of George Floyd, as well as those of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Attorney William Pintas of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm was hired by the Floyd family as Chief Legal Strategist, strengthening the fight for justice for the three most recent black lives lost to racial animus.
Murder of George Floyd
George Floyd’s death began because he was trying to use a $20 bill while being black.
On May 25, 2020, a Minneapolis shop called the police when they suspected that Floyd was trying to use an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill. Police arrived on the scene and arrested him. But bystander footage revealed Floyd being restrained with a knee to his neck by police officer, Derek Chauvin, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Floyd was heard to repeat “I can’t breathe,” several times. He even said “I’m about to die.” But Chauvin did not let up, even after Floyd lost consciousness. He was limp and lifeless when Chauvin finally got up. Floyd was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The cruel images of a white police officer pressing down on the neck of a black man as he gasps for air have shaken the nation to its core. As protests rage across the country, Floyd’s legal team is taking the fight for justice to the courts.
Attorney Ben Crump To Lead Legal Team
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has taken on the George Floyd case. He has also taken up the cases of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man shot by a father-son duo in Georgia while jogging, and Breonna Taylor, an EMT shot in bed in her own home.
Crump has pledged to bring the wrongdoers to justice and supported the protestors while calling for peace and healing.
“Let’s take a breath collectively for all of the marginalized and disenfranchised and dehumanized people, whether black, brown, white or red, who were killed unjustifiably, who were killed unnecessarily and who [were] killed senselessly,” Crump said in a recent news conference.
Attorney William Pintas Joins the Team
Early in June, attorney William Pintas was asked by George Floyd’s family to join Crump’s team as a Chief Legal Strategist. In this role, Pintas will assess and analyze the details of the case against Chauvin and the three other Minneapolis police officers who stood by while Floyd was murdered. He will work with Crump to develop a comprehensive plan to pursue justice for Floyd and his devastated family.
The George Floyd Legal Team
Ben Crump, Lead Attorney
President & Founder | Ben Crump Law
William Pintas, Chief Legal Strategist
Partner | Pintas & Mullins Law
Scott Carruthers, Attorney
Managing Partner | Ben Crump Law
Chris O’Neal, Attorney
Partner & Chief Integration Officer | Ben Crump Law
Antonio M. Romanucci, Co-Counsel
Founding Partner | Romanucci & Blandin, LLC
Jeff Storms, Co-Counsel
Partner | Newmark Storms Dworak LLC
Laura J. Mullins, Attorney
Partner | Pintas & Mullins Law
Devon M. Jacob, Co-Counsel
Owner & Attorney | Jacob Litigation, Inc.
Aleah Severin, Attorney
Attorney | Pintas & Mullins Law
A Timeline of Events
Here is a brief overview, updated weekly, of the events surrounding the George Floyd case and the related civil rights activism.
February 23, 2020: Ahmaud Arbery is Murdered
25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in a suburban neighborhood in Georgia when he was shot by a white father and son who suspected him of burglary. They hunted him down and reportedly shouted racial epithets after killing Arbery.
March 13, 2020: Breonna Taylor is Murdered
Police officers in Louisville, Kentucky broke into the home of emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor after midnight on March 13. They engaged in a shootout with Taylor’s boyfriend, who had a licensed firearm and reportedly believed that the police officers were armed intruders. After he fired at them, police fired 20 rounds into the apartment, killing Taylor.
George Zimmerman, who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and many others like him, have evaded criminal liability for their actions by using the “stand your ground” law. But Breonna Taylor was killed by officers who reportedly did not even announce themselves before entering her apartment and were shooting back at Taylor’s boyfriend.
May 25, 2020: George Floyd is Murdered
George Floyd was killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis on May 25. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and cut off his airways.
Outrage about George Floyd’s death, combined with anger over the senseless killings of Arbery and Taylor, boiled over and led to massive protests against police brutality.
May 26, 2020:
The four officers involved in the death of George Floyd were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.
The officers are:
J. Alexander Kueng
May 26, 2020- Present: Protests Across the Country
Peaceful protests continue to happen all over the country, with occasional violence, rioting, and looting. People are demanding justice for the many black lives lost, and asking that officers involved in these murders be fired. They are also demanding that police departments’ budgets be cut in an effort to demilitarize the police.
May 29, 2020: Chauvin Charged
Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder. This was later upgraded to a second-degree charge of murder. If found guilty, Chauvin faces up to 35 years in prison.
June 3, 2020: Three Other Officers Charged
Three of Chauvin’s colleagues were at the scene of Floyd’s death and stood by and watched as he was killed by the use of excessive force. The officers were charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder as well as second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter.
The four are currently awaiting trial.
June 4, 2020: Memorial Service for George Floyd
On June 4, a memorial service was held for George Floyd. Members of the legal team, including Attorney Ben Crump and Attorney Aleah Severin, were present for the heart-rending service.
June 8, 2020: Public Viewing
A public viewing of George Floyd was held at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas. It was an opportunity for the public to pay their final respects to the slain man, now a symbol for a global movement for equality and reform.
Floyd has been to rest in Houston next to his mother.
June 8, 2020: Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells is Found Dead
The body of black transwoman Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells is found in a river in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was 27.
June 9, 2020: Black Transwoman Riah Milton is Murdered
Riah Milton was found shot multiple times in Liberty Township, Ohio. She was a 25-year-old black transwoman.
Protestors have also taken up the cause of black transgender lives owing to the rising number of deaths in the community, with black transwomen in particular being targeted.
June 11, 2020: Breonna’s Law passed in Louisville, Kentucky
The Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning no-knock warrants, named Breonna’s law to honor the EMT who was shot dead by police breaking into her apartment.
June 12, 2020: Rayshard Brooks is Killed
27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by a police officer in the drive-thru of a Wendy’s in Atlanta, Georgia, sparking further protests and outrage. City police chief Erika Shields resigned over the incident. Garrett Rolfe, the officer who killed Brooks, was fired.
June 12, 2020: Minneapolis City Council Announces Policing System changes
The Minneapolis City Council voted for changes in the policing system, proposing to replace it with a transformative model. The decision was unanimous. The details of the plan have not been worked out yet.
June 15, 2020: Transcripts of 911 Call Released
“I don’t know if they had to use force or not,”
“Call me a snitch if you want to.”
A 911 dispatcher who was monitoring surveillance footage of Floyd’s murder made these remarks to his supervisor, according to audio transcripts released on June 15. The transcripts released also included two other unidentified callers reporting the incident.
One of the callers said that police had “just killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest.” The other, a firefighter said, “I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man, and I am a first responder myself, and I literally have it on video camera.”
June 17, 2020: Appeal to the UN HRC
Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd’s, addressed the UN Human Right Council via video to request their intervention to improve race relations and address police brutality in the United States.
“My family and I had to watch the last moments of [my brother’s] life. When people dared to raise their voice and protest for my brother, they were tear-gassed,” he shared.
The urgent meeting had been requested by the African Group, which consists of 54 member states from the African subcontinent.
June 19, 2020: Ben Crump featured in a WaPo Article
A Washington Post article described Ben Crump’s civil rights work, discussing his involvement the cases of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.
The article quoted Rev. Al Sharpton as saying that Ben Crump was “Black America’s attorney general… because we don’t feel like we have one.”
June 20, 2020: George Floyd Case Puts the Spotlight on Similar Cases
As protests against police brutality continue across the country, more cases of police brutality have emerged.
The deaths of Cameron Lamb, Modesto Reyes, Derrick Scott, and others have gained public attention, according to a New York Times report. A particularly troubling case was that of Nicolas Chavez, a mentally ill Latino man shot multiple times by police while he was on his knees. The shooting was recorded and uploaded to YouTube by a neighbor, and sparked further outrage at the brutal treatment of people, especially people of color, by the police.
June 25, 2020: Jamal Williams dies
22-year-old Jamal Williams was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster, Illinois for psychiatric care. Williams was fatally shot during a struggle with two safety guards. One of the guards, Ryan Askew also died.
The Northwest Indiana Times first reported that that Williams took Askew’s gun and shot him, but later reports indicated that it was the second guard, Benny Freeman, who accidentally shot and killed Askew. Williams did not have a gun at any point.
“We demand full transparency and accountability,” said Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family of Williams. He pointed out how deeply sad it was that Williams was killed at the hospital where he sought safety and care.
June 26, 2020: New Jersey Officer Suspended After Mocking George Floyd
An officer from the New Jersey Department of Correction was suspended without pay after he was caught on video acting out the death of George Floyd with another white man at a Black Lives Matter Rally. One of them even placed their knee on the neck of the other.
Joseph DeMarco was removed, with the NJ Department of Corrections calling the act “hateful and disappointing.”
ABC News reported that DeMarco did not receive the support of the local police officers’ union after his suspension, owing to the nature of the charges.
June 28-29, 2020: Charged Officers Denied Media Access for Pre-Trial
The officers charged with the murder of George Floyd requested District Court Judge Peter A. Cahill to allow reporters to cover the pre-trial, but were denied permission. The State did not agree to the request as it believed it might influence the jury pool adversely. Per Minnesota law, media can be allowed only if all parties consent.
This decision only applied to pre-trial hearings.
June 29, 2020: Second Pre-Trial Results
The trial date for the George Floyd case is set March 8, 2021, if the former officers are tried together. However, motions may be filed to separate their trials, in which case Chauvin and Thao, who are still in custody, would most likely go first
Judge Peter A. Cahill also threatened public officials with a gag order if they continue speaking in public about the case. Cahill pointed out that such statements might make it more difficult for the attorneys to have an unbiased jury.
June 29, 2020: Article Published in USA Today
Attorney Ben Crump published an opinion piece in USA Today, urging for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
In light of a shocking racist incident in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Three police officers were fired after they were inadvertently recorded by dashcam. enthusiastically talking about killing Black people. They reportedly said “We are just gonna go out and start slaughtering them fu—– ni—–. I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait”
Crump’s opinion letter called for greater accountability and quick action. “If we wait to change hearts and minds, the body count of Black Americans will continue to rise,” he writes.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill currently before Congress suggests mandatory de-escalation by police officers, requiring them to engage in all steps necessary to de-escalate a situation before using deadly force. It also proposes that body cameras and dashcams be made compulsory.
July 13, 2020: Protest March for Joel Acevedo
Joel Acevedo was a young Latino man killed after off-duty police officer Michael Mattioli placed him in a chokehold for 10 minutes. Mattioli has been charged with first-degree homicide and faces a disciplinary review, a possible step towards termination of employment. He has been on paid leave since the incident.
Attorney Ben Crump and his team are representing the family of Acevedo. Ben Crump marched with community activists in Milwaukee on July 13 to demand that the body camera footage from the cop who killed Acevedo be released.
The particulars of the case are very similar to the murder of George Floyd and show that police brutality is a widespread menace in the country. We need justice for Joel Acevedo and many others like him.
July 13, 2020: Defendants in Floyd Case Challenge Gag Order
All four defendants in the George Floyd murder case were restricted from meeting the press by the court. On July 13, they filed objections against the court order. The lawyers for Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao reportedly argued that their clients did not speak to the media, and that the gag order deprived them of their right to free speech.
Judge Peter Cahill issued a gag order to avoid any pre-trial publicity which will potentially taint the jury pool. No one involved with the case in any way is permitted to talk about to the press.
The order remains in place despite the objections.
July 15, 2020: Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of George Floyd’s Family
Attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Antonio Romanucci filed a lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and the four former officers charged with George Floyd’s murder.
The lawsuit alleges that Derek Chauvin and the other accused in the case violated George Floyd’s Fourth Amendment right against use of unreasonable force. Knocking Floyd down and pressing a knee to his neck constitute the use of excessive and illegal force, the lawsuit contends.
Attorney Crump called this case a “tipping point” for police brutality cases, and said that the lawsuit was filed to monetarily punish the city and the police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
He also said this was “a crisis in Black America — a public health crisis.”
“While all of America is dealing with the public health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, Black America has to deal with another public health pandemic of police brutality,” he said.
July 30, 2020: Records Reveal Chauvin Evaded Taxes
Derek Chauvin, the officer allegedly responsible for the death of George Floyd over a counterfeit $20 bill reportedly faces tax evasion charges amounting to $21,000.
The stark contrast between these two men reveals deep-rooted racial disparity and hypocrisy in American institutions.
An article in Forbes points out that another disparity. If convicted in each case, Chauvin would face:
- Second degree murder of George Floyd: 40 years
- Nine felony counts of tax fraud: 45 years
Thus, the murder of Black man for a trivial crime is still worth five years less than “relatively minor tax fraud,” the article’s writer says.
According to many, the tax charges are a way to make sure that Chauvin is convicted. It is exceedingly difficult to convict police officers who have killed someone on the job. It is unfortunate that a tax fraud conviction is easier than a conviction for a murder that was caught on camera.
George Floyd paid for a $20 bill that may have been counterfeit with his life. But Chauvin never faced any charges till now for defrauding tax authorities of as much as $21,000. The scales of justice are not balanced.
August 3, 2020: Leaked Body Camera Footage Causes Outrage
The body cam footage of George Floyd’s murder has not been released to the public by the court yet. But the video was leaked to the Daily Mail, which published snippets.
In the leaked footage, Chauvin is seen refusing to let George Floyd be rolled to his side to allow him to breathe better, even though another officer points out potential danger.
Additionally, the police officers already had their guns drawn when they arrived on scene.
“The police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man,” Crump said, “As this video shows, he never posed any threat.”
August 11, 2020: Official Release of Body Camera Footage
The body camera footage of George Floyd’s murder was released to the public. A medical expert said that the video revealed a “cascade of everything going wrong.”
Some details observed in the video are:
- Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 9.5 minutes.
- George Floyd could be heard expressing fear and telling officers that he was distressed because he had been shot by a police officer before
- Officer Thomas Lane got his gun out and pointed it at Floyd within six seconds of Floyd opening the door of his car
- Not even one of the officers explained their reasons for stopping Floyd, they immediately aimed a gun at him while shouting expletives.
Further, the paramedics who arrived well after Floyd became unconscious waited for three minutes and checked Floyd’s pulse four more times before performing chest compressions. They took an additional five minutes to ventilate him.
These medical mistakes further worsened a terrible situation. Floyd was not treated with dignity and compassion at any stage of this ordeal. That the lives of poor Black people can be treated with such callousness is despicable.
August 11, 2020: Florida Boy Arrested, Attorney Ben Crump Takes on Case
An eight-year-old Black boy in Key West, Florida was recently arrested and processed at Monroe County Detention Center for punching a substitute teacher in the chest. Attorney Crump is representing the boy’s mother Bianca N. Digennaro in a lawsuit filed against the school district and the police department.
The boy, who suffers from anxiety, depression, ADHD, and severe Oppositional Defiant Disorder, had an individualized education plan. He had allegedly been placed in a classroom with a substitute teacher who was not aware of his situation.
Per the lawsuit, the teacher asked the boy to sit properly, and then asked him to sit next to her. He refused. She then attempted to physically move him, and he asked her not to touch him. When she didn’t let go, the boy punched her in the chest.
The school called the police, who arrested the boy, even attempting to handcuff him in his classroom. At the detention center, the boy was charged with felony battery, and had his mugshot, fingerprints, and DNA taken. He was also locked in a jail cell for several minutes.
The charges were dropped after the boy underwent counseling, but the trauma from an incident like this may scar a child for life. The Key West police chief said in a statement that the officers had done nothing wrong, and that “standard operating procedures were followed.”
“This little boy was failed by everyone who played a part in this horrific incident,” said Crump.
The narrative about police killings of Black people has been that the police feared for their lives and their actions, including causing death, were a result of that fear.
But in a situation like this, not even such thin justification can stand. An eight-year-old boy being arrested goes against basic human decency and shows the deep-rooted nature of prejudice in this country.
August 18, 2020: Defendant’s Attorney Points Fingers at George Floyd
After the release of the body cam footage, defense lawyers raised new challenges in the George Floyd case.
Earl Gray, the lawyer for defendant Thomas Lane, suggested that George Floyd swallowed fentanyl, leading to a fatal overdose According to him, there was a white spot on Floyd’s tongue that disappeared later on. Per his suggestions, this was a 2-milligram tablet of fentanyl.
George Floyd’s autopsy report was released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. There were traces of fentanyl and methamphetamine use in Floyd’s system, but it is definitely far-fetched to make any suggestions of drug use from a still in the body camera footage.
Gray’s contention is that Floyd contributed to his own death by taking drugs and not following orders.
This is contradicted by body cam footage that shows:
- A fearful Floyd begging Lane to not shoot him, because he had been shot before by a police officer
- Floyd letting officers now that he felt claustrophobic, and that he couldn’t breathe
Gray’s argument is flawed in more ways than one. Floyd taking a drug had nothing to do with police officers using such violence to restrain him that he died. A knee to his neck was still an excessive, brutal use of force. Even those suspected to be criminals have rights.
The police are not called upon to mete out judgment or punishment. An entire court system exists for that. They are called upon to serve and protect. Their job was to apprehend someone they found suspicious and charge him with that crime, not to provide extrajudicial punishment. Even the police cannot take the law into their own hands.
But when it comes to communities of color and poor people, members of law enforcement have failed to do their duty. George Floyd’s death is a reminder of the racism and injustice inherent in policing practices.
August 23, 2020: The Shooting of Jacob Blake
Jacob Blake, a Black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot seven times in the back by police as his children watched from the back seat of his car.
Blake had driven up to break up an argument between two parties. Police arrived on the scene and tackled Blake. He resisted and made his way to his SUV, where he leaned to take something from his glove compartment. The officers followed with their guns drawn, and shot him seven times in the back while he was reaching across his car’s front seat. This happened while his three children were still sitting in the back seat of the car.
Kenosha police union president, Pete Deates, did not condemn the event, instead saying that there were intricacies that were not caught on camera. Blake disobeyed officers’ orders, and reached into his car. It is possible that police feared that he had a gun or a knife.
However, no cogent evidence has been presented to support this claim. And even in such a case, seven shots to the back of a man were deadly, excessive, and wholly unnecessary as a first line of defense. Was shooting an unarmed man in the back morally the right thing to do?
Blake was taken to the hospital. It was later revealed that he was paralyzed waist downwards.
Blake’s shooting caused even more outrage and protests in a nation already reeling from recent, traumatic events. As Karissa Lewis, national field director of the Movement for Black Lives said, “There’s no amount of training or reform that can teach a police officer that it’s wrong to shoot a Black man in the back seven times while his children watch.”
Blake’s family is now being represented by Attorney Ben Crump and his legal team, including William Pintas as Chief Legal Strategist. The fight to get justice for Jacob Blake continues.
August 28, 2020: Chauvin’s Attorneys Ask For Charges to Be Dismissed
Derek Chauvin’s lawyers moved the court to dismiss all charges against him, stating that there was no probable cause to support the accusations. The lawyers for the remaining accused have also filed similar motions.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in the case filed a notice that they will ask for an upward sentencing departure in the cases of the four defendants.
“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty,” the notice reads in part. “Despite Mr. Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe and was going to die, as well as the pleas of eyewitnesses to get off Mr. Floyd and help him, Defendant and his codefendants continued to restrain Mr. Floyd.”
The judge has not yet ruled on any of the motions to dismiss.
There is a chasm between the narratives put forth by the prosecution and the defense in the George Floyd case. While not unexpected, it is an ugly manifestation of the divide that exists in societal perception as well.
It reflects the same clash of values that see those protesting for Black lives face off against those who treat Kyle Rittenhouse as a hero. It is deeply troubling to note how a vigilante accused of murder is still accorded greater societal value than innocent Black men and women killed by police officers with little respect for human life.
September 8, 2020: Objection Filed to Joint Trial
Attorneys for all four defendants jointly filed an objection to the state’s motions to hold one trial for all four cases.
Lawyers for the defendants also filed motions for change of venue for the trial.
September 11, 2020: Motions Hearing Held in Case
A hearing was held in the George Floyd case allowing the defense and prosecution to argue in favor of the motions filed by them in the case. This marked the first time Derek Chauvin appeared in court in person, previously appearing via video from Oak Park Heights prison.
Judge Peter Cahill did not address the motions to dismiss charges against the accused. He also did not rule about the motion to join four cases for one trial, or the motion to change trial venue.
The judge disqualified four prosecutors in the case for meeting with the medical examiner in private, stating that the move made them witnesses in the case.
September 15, 2020: Settlement Announced in Breonna Taylor’s Case
Six months after 26-year-old emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor was shot dead in her Louisville, Kentucky home, city officials and Taylor family lawyers agreed to a $12 million settlement for her family. The agreement includes a slew of police reforms.
The settlement is the largest in the history of the Louisville police department, and among the largest of all payouts for police shootings of Black Americans.
“Breonna Taylor was taken much too soon in circumstances that should never have been allowed to happen,” said William Pintas, the Chief Legal Strategist for the case. “However, the decisive actions prompted by this settlement provide some closure, compensation, and justice for Ms. Taylor’s family and for the city of Louisville.”
September 21, 2020: DCI Investigation of Jacob Blake Shooting Nears Completion
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that the state Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) inquiry into the shooting of Jacob Blake is in its final stages. He also shared that former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray will join the investigation as a consultant.
Kenosha resident Jacob Blake, who was a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police officer Rusten Sheskey in August.
The shooting has been the subject of much controversy. Police department representatives claim that Blake was reaching for a knife when he was shot. Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Blake, said that Blake was trying to de-escalate a domestic disagreement when police arrived. They tased him and later shot him in front of his children.
September 23, 2020: Crump Takes on Trevonyae Cumpian Case
In August, Trevonyae Cumpian, a 28-year-old hotel employee, was held at gunpoint by police officer Ronald Kerzaya during a search for an armed white suspect in a black shirt and tan pants at a hotel in Tempe, Arizona.
Cumpian, who is Black, was in his hotel employee uniform and did not even match the description for the suspect. Kerzaya finally lowered his gun after Cumpian confirmed that he worked at the hotel.
Kerzaya has a track record of demonstrating undue aggression against Black men. In 2019, he tased Ivaughan Oakry while the latter was in his own home holding his one-year-old child.
Cumpian is now being represented by Ben Crump and has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe.
September 25, 2020: Defendants in Floyd Case Argue for Separate Trials
The lawyers for the four defendants in the George Floyd case have asked that the cases of each be separated, saying that this was required since the prosecution seeks to use individual background information as evidence.
This new evidence includes previous incidents where Derek Chauvin used excessive force, misconduct reported by Tou Thao’s field training officer about not filing proper reports, and evidence showing that J. Alexander Keung was trained in the proper way to restrain detainees.
September 28, 2020: Re-evaluation Underway for Police Body Cameras
Axon, a leading body camera manufacturer, recently released a new line of cameras which will automatically turn on and start recording if an officer draws out a taser or firearm. This camera also will livestream events to supervising officers, which would allow them greater decision-making power to de-escalate situations.
Developments in body cam technology and greater adoption by police forces across the country have led to an increase in the value of the body cam industry. According to a CNN report, the body cam industry may grow from $443 million in 2018 to over $1.5 billion by 2025.
It is hoped that these technological developments might prevent deaths like that of Breonna Taylor.
October 7, 2020: Accused Derek Chauvin Gets Bail
Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of George Floyd’s murder, was released from state jail after he posted a $1 million bail bond, paying out 10% of the total bond in keeping with Minnesota laws.
Both the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which has a legal defense fund, and the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation said that they were not involved.
According to the conditions of his bail, Chauvin cannot own firearms or ammunition, work in law enforcement, or contact Floyd’s family in any way. He must also attend all court hearings and not leave the state,
In a statement, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said that Chauvin’s release was “a painful reminder” that the family is far from getting justice.
“The system of due process worked for Chauvin and afforded him his freedom while he awaits trial,” they said. “In contrast, George Floyd was denied due process, when his life was ended over a $20 bill. There was no charge, no arrest, no hearing, no bail. Just execution.”
October 14, 2020: George Floyd’s Birthday
George Floyd would have turned 47 on October 14, 2020, if his life had not been cruelly cut short by police brutality. Many spoke out on Twitter on the occasion of Floyd’s birthday, including Ben Crump. Crump tweeted about steps Americans could take to combat systemic racism, including making a voting plan, and writing or calling senators, urging them to back the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill currently before Congress is a proposed legislation which seeks to end discriminatory policing practices. It suggests mandatory de-escalation by police officers, requiring them to engage in all steps necessary to de-escalate a situation before using deadly force. It also proposes that body cameras and dashcams be made compulsory. The aim of the bill is also to bring greater transparency to police practices.
October 16, 2020: Video of Prior George Floyd Arrest Released
Overruling the objections raised by prosecution, Judge Peter Cahill has decided that a video of George Floyd being arrested in May 2019 could be made public.
NPR reported that the prosecution asked that the video be sealed for 48 hours, allowing both sides to consider the fallout of releasing it. But this request was denied by the judge. The video shows that Floyd didn’t obey the officer’s directions, before complying in the end, resulting in a peaceful arrest.
The release of the video can be regarded as an attempt to defame George Floyd even further. But regardless of its impact on the public, the video will not be allowed in evidence at the trial.
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March 9-16, 2021: The Case Against Derek Chauvin Begins
Jury selection began on March 9 for the trial against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. There were minor controversies regarding the defense’s rejection of several jurors. While the prosecution voiced concern about possible racial motivations for the rejection of two jurors, according to National Public Radio (NPR), Judge Peter Cahill ultimately found that the defense had good cause for turning away those jurors.
The first was a woman whose first language is Spanish, and she herself worried that she would not be able to understand what was said at trial in real time. The second, a martial artist, had previously referred to Chauvin’s actions as “illegal,” reasonably calling into question his ability to remain impartial.
Other notable dates in the trial include:
- March 11, 2021: Judge Peter Cahill reinstated a third-degree murder charge, citing precedent from a Court of Appeals ruling on a separate police-related homicide case. The court had initially ruled that third-degree murder could only be applicable if the actions of the accused endangered more than one person.
- March 15, 2021: Defense counsel asked the court for a continuance on the trial and a change of venue following the publication of news about the Floyd family’s record settlement with the city. Judge Peter Cahill has not ruled on the change of venue, but interviewed each jury member and dismissed two from the trial after finding that they could not be impartial due to hearing of the settlement, according to the New York Times.
The dismissal of two jurors leaves seven seated as of this writing, with jury selection still an ongoing process.
March 12, 2021: Floyd Family Gets Record Settlement From Minneapolis
Why are there fears of the jury pool being “tainted” with impartiality? Largely, it is because Minneapolis announced a settlement with the family of George Floyd for a record $27 million. Floyd’s team of attorneys advocated for the family and achieved what was described by Mr. Crump as “the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history.”
Quoted in the Star Tribune, Attorney Crump summed up the city’s move succinctly: “History will judge us on how we responded to this tragedy.”
William Pintas is Committed to the Fight for Justice
Attorney Ben Crump has been at the forefront of the fight for justice for black men and women killed by police and vigilantes. He has been vocal about the need for reform and justice for people of color.
As Attorney Ben Crump continues to pursue justice for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, he is joined in his fight by William Pintas. Pintas offers his legal expertise, resources, and full support during this extremely pivotal moment and is committed to ensuring justice for the Black community.
No Justice, no peace. Say their names. Honor their legacies.
Check back for updates as the case progresses.