George Floyd’s family on Tuesday announced they intend to file a $250 million lawsuit against Kanye West over the rapper and fashion designer’s claim that the Black man’s death was due to a fentanyl overdose.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the 45-year-old – who officially changed his name to Ye – made those claims during an interview on Drink Champs. “They hit him with the fentanyl,” the rapper alleged. “If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that.”
West made these comments after stating that he had watched Candace Owens’ new documentary, titled ‘The Greatest Lie Ever Sold’, adding that the falsehood was in her documentary.
Roxie Washington, who shares a daughter with Floyd, will file the lawsuit against West, NPR reported. Their daughter, Gianna, is Floyd’s only daughter and his estate’s sole beneficiary. And besides West, the other defendants in the lawsuit will be the 45-year-old’s business partners and associates.
In a statement, Washington’s attorneys said the named defendants are being sued for “harassment, misappropriation, defamation and infliction of emotional distress seeking $250 million dollars in damages.”
“Kanye’s comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death,” Attorney Pat D. Dixon III said. “We will hold Mr. West accountable for his flagrant remarks against Mr. Floyd’s legacy.”
In the wake of his claims, Floyd’s family attorneys also sent West a cease-and-decease letter that ordered him to stop publicly speaking about the Black man’s killing.
“Free Speech Rights do not include harassment, lies, misrepresentation, and the misappropriation of George Floyd’s legacy. Some words have consequences and Mr. West will be made to understand that,” Kay Harper Williams, who is one of Washington’s attorneys, said.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer convicted in the death of Floyd, was sentenced last June to 22 and a half years in prison. In April of that year, Chauvin was found guilty on three counts: Second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes.
Floyd died from a lack of oxygen caused by the knee on his neck, medical experts said during Chauvin’s trial. A coroner’s report also stated that he died of asphyxia.
Floyd’s death triggered a wave of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States, with people calling for swift reforms. The protests eventually spread to other countries.