The long struggle for equal justice for all Americans has reached a fever pitch that promises real change in the coming months and years. Unfortunately, the movement was sparked by the death of George Floyd due to brutal policing tactics. Attorney Ben Crump has taken up the George Floyd case, along with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, in order to drive a movement toward equality, police reform, and justice for communities of color.
The Murder of George Floyd
Imagine being killed over $20. George Floyd’s death was sparked by a 911 call that accused him of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis deli, according to reports from the New York Times. Police officers arrived and, within a mere 17 minutes, George Floyd had lost consciousness. Officer Derek Chauvin used tactics in violation of the Minneapolis Police Department’s policies. Chauvin pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground with his knee pressed against Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Video of the incident shows that Chauvin did not let up even when Mr. Floyd lost consciousness and could not possibly be construed as resisting.
The image of a white police officer’s knee pressing a black man’s neck until he could not breathe and eventually passed away has captured the attention of people across the nation, leading to protests in all 50 states and a nationwide demand for racial equality and justice.
Attorney Ben Crump Gets Involved
A pioneer and fierce advocate for justice, equality, and civil rights, attorney Ben Crump quickly took on George Floyd’s case, as well as the murder of 25-year old Ahmaud Arbery by a father-son vigilante team and the murder of Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician, by police intruding into her home.
These cases rightfully sparked outrage over police brutality and overreach, as well as the lack of police discipline, as officers routinely are put on paid leave or receive proverbial slaps on the wrist after these kinds of heinous acts. Below is a timeline, to be updated weekly, of the events that have since transpired in the George Floyd case and our country’s push to eradicate systemic racism in our police and power structures.
The George Floyd Legal Team
Ben Crump, Lead Attorney
President & Founder | Ben Crump Law
William Pintas, Chief Legal Strategist
Partner | Pintas & Mullins Law
Chief Strategist | Ben Crump 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
This section will be updated on a weekly basis to keep you informed of the major events in the George Floyd case and related civil rights movement.
Feb. 23, 2020: Ahmaud Arbery Is Murdered
While jogging in a Georgia residential neighborhood, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery is gunned down by a (white) father and son team who reportedly yelled racial slurs after shooting Arbery, according to CNN.
March 13, 2020: Breonna Taylor Is Murdered
After breaking into her home, police officers engaged in a shootout with Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, who claimed that he believed the police officers to be armed intruders. In an era in which killers like George Zimmerman have avoided justice using the “stand your ground” law, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police officers who allegedly failed to announce themselves before breaking into her apartment. After her boyfriend, who is licensed to carry a firearm, shot at what he suspected were burglars, according to NBC News, the unannounced police officers fired 20 rounds into the apartment, murdering Ms. Taylor.
May 25, 2020: George Floyd Is Murdered
On May 25th, Mr. Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin cutting off his airways for nearly nine minutes. Combined with the outrage over the senseless killings of Ms. Taylor and Mr. Arbery, George Floyd’s death motivated crowds in every state to protest against police violence.
May 26, 2020: Ongoing Protests
Peaceful protests, punctuated by occasional bouts of rioting and/or looting on isolated occasions, continue to occur around the nation. Citizens are demanding justice, appropriate punishment for officers involved in these murders, and lowered funds for police departments in an effort to demilitarize the police.
May 29, 2020: Chauvin Charged
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, which has since been upgraded to second-degree charges, according to ABC News. If found guilty, he will face a sentence of up to 35 years in prison.
June 2, 2020: Ben Crump Speaks on CNN
Attorney Ben Crump appeared on CNN, urging for Chauvin’s initial charges to be upgraded to first-degree murder and for the remaining (former) officers to be charged as well. While calling for peaceful protests and an end to violence, Mr. Crump acknowledged the upwelling of righteous anger and continues to push for justice.
June 3, 2020: Other Officers Charged
The three remaining police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd were subsequently fired from the police force. Officers who stood by and watched as Chauvin kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes were charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder as well as second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter. The four await trial.
June 3, 2020: Ben Crump Speaks to ABC News
Following the charges against the former officers who watched as George Floyd was murdered, Attorney Ben Crump called for the nation to “take a breath” for peace and justice. “Let’s take a breath to heal this country,” Mr. Crump said.
June 4: The George Floyd Memorial Service
A memorial service was held for George Floyd on Thursday, June 4th. Attorney Ben Crump was present for the historic moment, as pictured below.
June 8, 2020: Public Viewing
A public viewing for George Floyd was held in Houston, Texas at the Fountain of Praise Church, where members of the public paid their respects to this murdered man who has become a symbol for progress, equality, and reform. Mr. Floyd is expected to be buried in Houston next to his mother.
Attorney William Pintas Joins the Fight for Justice
At the request of George Floyd’s family in early June, respected attorney William Pintas has joined the Ben Crump legal team as Chief Legal Strategist. He will work alongside Ben Crump to gather evidence and formulate a plan to get the George Floyd family the recognition, compensation, and justice they deserve.
June 9, 2020: George Floyd Is Buried
As anticipated, Mr. Floyd was laid to rest on June 9, 2020, in Houston, where his mother is also interred. Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather paid the family’s funeral expenses.
June 12, 2020: Minneapolis City Council Announcement
As reported by CNN, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to dismantle the current policing system and replace it with a “transformative model.” The specifics of the plan are still under consideration, but the council expressed the belief that the current system is not reformable and needs total replacement.
June 15, 2020: Released Transcripts Show Concern
On Monday, June 15, 2020, audio transcripts were released, showing a 911 dispatcher and two unidentified callers expressing concern over the treatment of George Floyd. The 911 dispatcher, who was monitoring surveillance cameras that captured George Floyd’s murder, reported to his supervisor that “I don’t know if they had to use force or not,” and remarked, “call me a snitch if you want to.”
Two other people called in the incident, including a firefighter, who 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.” The second unidentified caller told the 911 operator that the police “just killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest.”
June 17, 2020: Update on United Nations Appeal
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, appeared via video in an address to the United Nations Human Rights Council, pleading with the panel to intervene and help address police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States. The urgent meeting, requested by the African Group of 54 member states from the continent of Africa.
Mr. Philonise Floyd said to the council, “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.” Protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd continue to take place across the globe.
June 19, 2020: The Washington Post Reports on Ben Crump
An article in the Washington Post talked about the work of attorney Ben Crump in many civil rights cases over the years. The report included a discussion of the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. As part of his work on these cases, Attorney Crump went to Louisville and successfully asked the city council to ban no-knock warrants. This type of warrant is what resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor. Banning it means that Louisville is starting to take police violence seriously.
The Washington Post described the role that Ben Crump has in the modern civil rights fight. Quoting the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Post called Ben Crump “black America’s attorney general… because we don’t feel like we have one.” These three cases led by Attorney Crump are just the start of a new push for fairness, no matter the color of a person’s skin.
June 20, 2020: George Floyd’s Case Brings Other Deaths to Light
The U.S. continues to see protests in the name of George Floyd. As people look closer at past cases, other instances of police violence are coming to light. The New York Times reports that victims like Cameron Lamb, Modesto Reyes, Derrick Scott, and others have begun to enter the public eye. One troubling example is the murder of Nicolas Chavez. He was a mentally ill Latino man who was shot multiple times by police while on his knees. Video of the shooting, put on YouTube by a neighbor, has sparked more outrage at police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
People of color have suffered for a long time at the hands of the legal system in America. They have been victims of police violence and wrongful convictions due to jury prejudice. Yet the fight for justice goes on. Black and brown people deserve true equality in the eyes of the law. As attorney Ben Crump fights for George Floyd, he hopes to continue the movement toward equality and peace.
June 25, 2020: Ben Crump Takes on the Case of Jamal Williams
More cases of police violence have come to light since the death of George Floyd. One such example is the death of Jamal Williams. A 22-year-old Mr. Williams was admitted to the Community Hospital for psychiatric care. After a struggle with two security guards, both Mr. Williams and one of the security guards (Ryan Askew) were dead.
The first reports by the Northwest Indiana Times, which were based on a false police statement and have since been fixed, said that Mr. Williams took Mr. Askew’s gun and shot him. A second guard, Benny Freeman, then shot Mr. Williams. New reports say that when Freeman shot and killed Mr. Williams, he accidentally shot and killed Mr. Askew. Mr. Williams did not have control of any gun.
Attorney Ben Crump has taken on the case. He pointed out how deeply sad it is that Mr. Williams was killed at the hospital, where he sought safety and care. “We demand full transparency and accountability,” he said.
June 26, 2020: Officer Removed After Mocking George Floyd’s Murder
Officer Joseph DeMarco was seen mocking the death of George Floyd and has been removed from the New Jersey Department of Corrections. He was suspended without pay after being caught on video at a Black Lives Matter rally. DeMarco and another white man acted out the death of George Floyd, with one placing his knee on the other’s neck. The NJ Department of Corrections called the act “hateful and disappointing.”
Due to “the nature of the charges,” the local police officers’ union decided not to support DeMarco, according to ABC News.
June 28-29, 2020: Ex-Officers Ask for Media Access and Are Denied
On June 28, the men charged with the murder of George Floyd asked District Court Judge Peter A. Cahill to allow cameras and reporters into the courtroom for the pre-trial hearing. Minnesota law only allows this arrangement when all parties agree. The State, believing that it might “taint” the local jury pool, did not agree. As such, the judge denied the request.
The judge’s decision only applies to the pre-trial hearings, as reported by ABC News Channel KTSP. Trial coverage will be decided later.
June 29, 2020: Second Pre-Trial Hearing Results
As the Associated Press reports, the second hearing in the George Floyd murder case set the trial date for March 8, 2021. However, if the accused men file a motion to be tried separately, new trial dates would be necessary.
Judge Peter A. Cahill asked for public officials to remain quiet about the case. According to the judge, statements about George Floyd’s murder can make it hard for attorneys to find a jury free of bias. The judge said that the trial might need to take place at another location. The next pre-trial court date is scheduled for September 11.
June 29, 2020: Ben Crump Is Featured in USA Today
In support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, attorney Ben Crump wrote an opinion piece in USA Today. Unfortunately, the writing was prompted by more evidence of racial division, antagonism, and injustice within the nation’s police force.
Officers in Wilmington, North Carolina, were caught on dashcam, proclaiming that they were excited to systematically kill black civilians. The words, laced with derogatory terms and profanities, were “We are just gonna go out and start slaughtering them fu—– ni—–. I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait.” Such talk is shocking, but even more sobering is that these cops were simply the ones who happened to make these statements. When you catch some, there are surely others out there.
Ben Crump, in his opinion letter, emphasized the need for accountability. The now-former officers who uttered the statements were fired from the Wilmington police force, which is a start. But more needs to be done to prevent this mentality in the first place. As attorney Crump said, until a profound change happens in the hearts and minds of the nation, “the body count of Black Americans will continue to rise.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would require police officers to engage in all the steps necessary to de-escalate situations before using deadly force. It also mandates the use of body cameras and dashcams, which can help hold police accountable. But as attorney Crump pointed out, the Wilmington police’s words call into question the tactics that are used. “Could it be that… officers [actively look] for an opportunity to start slaughtering us?” Ben Crump’s question demands an answer; it demands action. Hopefully, Congress will act soon to begin the healing that this nation needs.
Ben Crump Is Outspoken for Justice
As an attorney for several of the recent cases involving the murder of black men and women at the hands of police and vigilantes, Ben Crump has been a leading voice in the efforts for reform and justice. He has spoken to and appeared on several media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, The View, Face the Nation, and more. As more light is shed on the George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor cases, Ben Crump will continue to pursue justice for the families of these victims.