Donald Williams, who witnessed the death of George Floyd in 2020, is suing the city of Minneapolis for assault and emotional distress.
“Plaintiff has endured and/or will endure medical expenses, emotional distress, pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, and other items of compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by jury,” his lawsuit against Minneapolis reads.
Williams is demanding a minimum of $50,000 for each of the three counts against the city — assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The complaint explains that Williams believed former police officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao threatened him with bodily harm by “shaking” a can of mace. He also alleges that Thao “placed his hand” on his chest after he expressed concern over their treatment of Floyd.
“As a result of the actions of Chauvin and Thao, Plaintiff was fearful for his safety and the safety of others around him,” the lawsuit reads.
Williams’ own trial for domestic assault is set to begin in June, court records show. During his arrest last year, he allegedly threatened to kill police officers and come after their families.
According to the domestic assault charges, Williams got into an argument with his ex-girlfriend over ice while the two were with their three children near the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul to sell bottled water to fairgoers. The charges say Williams reached into the victim’s vehicle with his left hand and grabbed her by the throat, strangling her. While strangling the victim, Williams used his right hand to backhand the victim on the left side of her face, according to the complaint.
As a witness to Floyd’s death, Williams testified during Chauvin’s trial where he touted his credentials as an MMA fighter and expert on chokeholds.
Williams also has an open case for misdemeanor disorderly conduct, which was amended from an original charge of fifth-degree assault. According to a Roseville police officer’s notes in the case, Williams allegedly punched a pizza delivery driver in the face in October 2021.
He was again charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct in February of this year when he allegedly threw a container of mints at a Minneapolis gas station manager. In January, Williams was charged with violating a domestic abuse no contact order.