George Floyd’s Settlement: Hope For the Future of the Black Lives Matter Movement


Nearly a year after George Floyd’s murder, the Floyd family is in the process of collecting $27 million in settlement money. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Nearly a year after George Floyd’s murder, the Floyd family is in the process of collecting $27 million in settlement money. On Friday, March 12, Minneapolis’ city council voted 13-0 to settle the lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers involved in Floyd’s death. Although the settlement does not fill George’s void in his family’s lives, it gives many Americans hope that the Black Lives Matter movement is not losing momentum and is continuing to bring about change.

George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 helped reignite the Black Lives Matter movement, which implored the end of police brutality and racially charged crimes against Black people. Sometimes, it takes a great tragedy to spark purposeful movements. Floyd’s death was a reminder of how much change is necessary for the U.S. to become a safe country for Black Americans. Floyd’s death, partnered with numerous other Black American deaths at the hands of the police, gained traction because it helped expose the racial injustices in this country. The images of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are ingrained in the American population’s memory.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, people of all backgrounds came together from across the country to combat the police system’s oppression of the Black community. After Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction and outraged citizens signified their unity against police brutality. The Black Lives Matter movement is an ever-growing, monumental, historical and educational feat. People spread messages about how silence is not an option: if you do not use your privilege to spread awareness, your silence is no better than the violence occurring. By staying silent, one sides with the oppressor because to do so is to sit idly by as corruption continues.

Presently, the Black Lives Matter movement is carrying on strong. The $27 million settlement is historic, as it is one of the largest settlements made during a pre-trial regarding wrongful death. The settlement signifies that when people band together to work toward a common goal, real developments can occur. People can observe the actions of local government officials and know that they are listening in some capacity. Floyd’s murder spurred the government to listen, as the growing racial injustice in the country was finally seen for what it is: too much to bear. The government acknowledged that there was an issue within the system and opted to observe what the general population begged for. 

However, murder should not have been the final straw for people to act upon the Black Lives Matter movement. It is unfortunate that extremes have to occur for awareness to spread and for change to take place.

As a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, there have been multiple reforms within the police system. Days after Floyd’s death, Minneapolis prohibited chokeholds and asked officers to report colleagues who use them. Although the Minneapolis police department took charge against violence, it did not explicitly address racial bias towards people of color. Other local governments have opted to reallocate funding for police programs and put it towards mental health initiatives, since there are more proactive ways to prevent catastrophe besides allowing the police to handle all of society’s problems. In December, $7.77 million was redirected from funding the Minneapolis police to other programs. People have discovered other resources to rely on regarding mental health, sexual assault, domestic abuse and crime. 

Those of us who have the privilege of never having to feel threatened by the police must acknowledge that these threats are far too common an experience for people of color. The Black Lives Matter movement gives people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes while using and understanding their privilege. 

Elizabeth Hoffman, GSB ’23, is an information systems major from Basking Ridge, N.J.