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Minneapolis defends decision to announce Floyd family settlement during Chauvin trial

News of the $27 million settlement led to two jurors being removed this week.
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The Minneapolis City Attorney on Thursday defended the decision taken by the city council to approve and announce the $27 million settlement for the family of George Floyd while a former police officer stands trial for his murder.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mayor Jacob Frey and City Attorney Jim Rowader would not be drawn into making explicit comments on the settlement or the Derek Chauvin case due to concerns it could impact the trial, which is currently undergoing jury selection.

But Rowader did not agree with the premise that the decision to announce the $27 million settlement last Friday – a city record for a police payout – has influenced the proceedings. 

Rowader argued "to date" the settlement "hasn't had that impact," on the case. That's despite the fact that District Judge Peter Cahill had to strike two seated jurors because they had heard of the settlement and admitted it could influence their decisions.

Rowader then went on to say there is "no good time to settle a case," but said that there is "no guarantee that the deal would be available (to Floyd's family) two, four, six, eight weeks from now."

He would not comment when asked whether this is because the settlement had the potential to be larger if the city had waited.

The Star Tribune reports Judge Cahill described the decision to announce the settlement as "unfortunate" and called on city leaders to stop discussing the Chauvin case.

Also at the press conference, both Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that action would be taken to address the crime spike seen at the barricaded 38th and Chicago, now known as Geoge Floyd Square.

Arradondo reiterated his pledge on Wednesday that the intersection would be reopening to traffic sooner than originally planned, with the city having previously said it would wait till after the Chauvin trial.

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The intersection has been the scene of multiple violent crimes this month, including a fatal shooting outside Cup Foods on Mar. 6.

Frey said that the city wants the intersection to be a place to memorialize Floyd, but "there have been individuals and groups at this intersection not celebrating the life of George Floyd, not honoring racial justice and healing, instead they've caused violence, and neighborhoods have been terrorized."

Neither would be drawn on a timeline for the reopening of 38th and Chicago, with Frey saying "we're evaluating that timeline every day and ensuring we have the right resources on the ground ready to be put into action in order to ensure safety at this intersection, and a continued place for racial justice and healing."

When it does come to be reopened, Frey said that public works crews will be joined by law enforcement officers.

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