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George Floyd civil legal team calls for justice as Derek Chauvin criminal trial begins

Posted on: March 29th, 2021 by Romanucci & Blandin

Lawyers and Floyd family voice support for George Floyd Arbitration Reform Bill in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci, L. Chris Stewart, Jeff Storms and other co-counsel on behalf of the family of George Floyd together members of the Floyd family provided comments before opening arguments began in the criminal trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with Mr. Floyd’s death.

The civil legal team, which settled its legal action with Minneapolis for an historic $27 million earlier this month, is hopeful that justice will be swift and clear in this criminal case. 

Additionally, the lawyers and family urged Minnesota lawmakers to pass a bill that would strengthen the ability to hold officers accountable for their actions, should they behave outside the bounds of the law.  Attorneys believe the bill, which would revise Minnesota State Statute 179A.21 subd 3, should be named The George Floyd Arbitration Reform Bill, and is part of an ongoing series of police reform measures Minnesota and Minneapolis are considering in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The proposed change to Minnesota State Statute 179A.21 subd.3 is underlined below:

Subd. 3. Limits. Arbitration decisions authorized or required by a grievance procedure are subject to the limitations contained in section 179A.16, subdivision 5. The arbitrator shall send the commissioner a copy of each grievance arbitration decision and any written explanation. If any issues submitted to arbitration are settled voluntarily before the arbitrator issues a decision, the arbitrator shall report the settlement to the commissioner. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, home rule charter, ordinance, resolution or collective bargaining agreement, arbitrators do not have authority to reverse or reduce the discipline imposed by the chief law enforcement officer when the employer demonstrates that the peace officer provided an untruthful formal statement, engaged in unreasonable use force, failed to report force used, failed to intervene when witnessing another peace officer use unreasonable force or  engaged in other egregious conduct.

“The moment has come for Derek Chauvin to be held accountable for the public hanging-style death of George Floyd. The video, witnessed by millions of people around the world, makes this a very clear case. The only reason some people think this is a complicated case is because George Floyd was a Black man. If he had been white, no one would say his slow and painful death under Derek Chauvin’s knee was confusing in any way,” said attorney Ben Crump. 

“Since Mr. Floyd’s death less than one year ago, the City of Minneapolis has adopted sweeping police reforms, including use-of-force reporting, a requirement to keep body-worn cameras on, and a policy for officers to de-escalate non-threatening encounters by disengaging or walking away.  Now we call on Minnesota state lawmakers to pass the revisions to arbitration law so that there is a more clear and direct path to holding bad officers accountable,” said attorney Antonio M. Romanucci.

“George Floyd’s family and those who loved him have endured unthinkable pain to get to this day. We are hopeful the jurors will let the irrefutable evidence in this case be their guide,” said attorney L. Chris Stewart. “Furthermore, we urge people in Minneapolis and everywhere to continue to voice their support for the Floyd family, but to do so in a peaceful manner.” 

About Ben Crump Law 

Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and his national network of specialized attorneys have spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable. For more, visit BenCrump.com or call (800) 935-8111.

About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC 

Romanucci & Blandin is a Chicago-based national trial practice committed to fighting for victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death arising from police misconduct, corporate negligence, civil rights actions, medical malpractice, mass torts and class actions. Founded in 1998, the firm is widely recognized for representing plaintiffs in numerous practice areas including: workers’ compensation, pharmaceuticals, civil rights, police misconduct, excessive force, aviation, product liability and premises liability. For more information, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000. 

About Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys

Atlanta-based Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys has handled numerous high-profile wrongful death cases involving law enforcement and represents victims of police violence around the country.  Led by L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, the firm specializes in cases involving civil rights, wrongful death, premises liability and sexual assault.  The firm won the first-ever billion dollar jury verdict involving a rape victim.  For more information visit www.smstrial.com or call (844) TRIAL-00. 

About Pintas & Mullins

Pintas & Mullins is a national law firm, headquartered in Chicago, which has fought for the rights of the seriously injured for more than 35 years. Its practice areas include representation for the victims of environmental injustice, nursing home abuse of seniors, medical malpractice, dangerous products and drugs, and more. Through its close association with Ben Crump law, Pintas & Mullins is a passionate advocate for those without a voice against powerful interests and bad-acting corporations.  For more information please visit www.pintas.com or call (800) 935-8111.

About Jacob Litigation, Inc. 

Jacob Litigation, Inc. is a national civil rights law firm serving persons who have experienced police brutality, and the estates of persons who have been unlawfully killed by law enforcement personnel. Jacob Litigation is owned and operated by Attorney Devon M. Jacob, who is a former police officer and a former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General. For more information please visit www.jacoblitigation.com or call (717) 796-7733.

About Newmark Storms Dworak LLC 

Newmark Storms Dworak LLC is one of Minnesota’s premier boutique law firms. The Minneapolis firm regularly handles high-profile civil rights, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse claims. For more information, visit www.newmarkstorms.com.

About Lewis Brisbois 

Lewis Brisbois provides a wide-range of legal services to clients with a continuity of representation across multiple disciplines. The firm has built longstanding relationships with corporate and institutional clients based on its ability to provide comprehensive service on a national scale. Attorneys Scott Masterson of the Atlanta office along with Michelle Gilboe of the firm’s Minneapolis office are working with Stewart Trial Attorneys.  Information:  www.lewisbrisbois.com.        

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