George Floyd family may sue Kanye West over comments about his death

The rapper-producer stated on the "Drink Champs" podcast that Floyd's death was caused by a fentanyl overdose, rather than the actions of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

The family of George Floyd is considering taking legal action against Kanye West over comments he made about Floyd’s death. West, who has changed his name to Ye, stated that Floyd’s death was caused by a drug overdose, rather than from a Minneapolis police officer choking him.

West appeared on an episode of the “Drink Champs” podcast on Sunday. During the over three-hour episode, West spoke about Floyd’s death and his feelings about what he believed contributed to it.

“I watched the George Floyd documentary that Candace Owens put out,” West said. “One of the things that his two roommates said was they want a tall guy like me, and the day that he died, he said a prayer for eight minutes. They hit him with the fentanyl. If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that.”

Kanye "Ye" West Yeezy Season 9
Kanye “Ye” West, clad in a White Lives Matter T-shirt, addresses attendees on Oct. 3 2022 at the Yeezy presentation during Paris Fashion Week SS 2023 in Paris. George Floyd family members are considering legal action against the mogul for comments he made about their deceased loved one. (Screenshot: YouTube/ Kanye West Live Performances)

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represented Floyd’s family, made a statement about West’s comments on his Twitter page, saying that the family was contemplating filing a lawsuit against the 24-time Grammy Award-winner.

“While one cannot defame the dead, the family of #GeorgeFloyd is considering suit for Kanye’s false statements about the manner of his death,” Merritt wrote. “Claiming Floyd died from fentanyl not the brutality established criminally and civilly undermines & diminishes the Floyd family’s fight.”

Philonise Floyd — George Floyd’s brother — alerted Merritt about West’s comments and asked about pursuing a defamation suit against him. Merritt stated that it a defamation suit isn’t legally possible because George is dead, but there may be other avenues.

“I have put together a working team to investigate [West’s] statements and to investigate the source of those statements,” Merritt said.

Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner who performed Floyd’s autopsy, testified that fentanyl and heart disease were contributing factors in Floyd’s death, but they were not the direct cause, according to CNN.

Baker said in his initial findings that Floyd died because of “cardiopulmonary arrest” brought on by “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression” by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He was sentenced to 22-and-a-half-years in prison.

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