Attorneys for George Floyd’s family on Friday refuted defense claims that Floyd died of complications stemming from a drug overdose while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers in May.
At a press conference that followed a pretrial court hearing in Minneapolis, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said it was the four criminally charged former officers — Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — who caused Floyd’s death.
Chauvin, who held his knee to Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Kueng, Thao and Lane are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
“They are trying to say that the knee on [Floyd’s] neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds was reasonable,” Crump said. “They are trying to claim some asinine theory about an overdose. America saw what happened. The world saw what happened. And so, who are you going to believe, your eyes or these killer cops?”
In July, Floyd’s family filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against the city of Minneapolis and the four former officers involved in the Black man’s killing.
Floyd died in police custody on May 25 after officers responded to a report of a counterfeit $20 bill that was used at a convenience store. Video taken at the scene showed a handcuffed Floyd being restrained on the ground by Chauvin. Floyd, 46, repeatedly told the officers he couldn’t breathe, according to the video and the criminal complaint in Chauvin’s case.
Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and led to discussions in several cities about defunding the police — a proposal that would reallocate funding from police departments to other programs and social services.