Minneapolis reaches settlement with George Floyd witness who alleged emotional distress

The settlement still needs to be approved by the Minneapolis City Council.

Donald Williams testifies during former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin's March 2021 trial. (YouTube screenshot)

A Minneapolis man who alleged “emotional distress” after witnessing the death of George Floyd has reached a settlement with the city, according to court documents.

Donald Williams witnessed the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Standing nearby the Cup Foods store when Floyd died, Williams alleges that he was subjected to assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and retaliation by then-Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.

In his lawsuit against Minneapolis, Williams sought at least $50,000 for each of the four claims he made against the city. As such, Williams was asking Minneapolis to pay him more than $200,000.

Originally filed in Hennepin County District Court, the lawsuit was eventually transferred to federal court. According to a federal court document dated March 27, the City of Minneapolis and Williams have reached a settlement in the case.

However, the specifics of the proposed settlement are not currently public knowledge. The Minneapolis City Attorney is scheduled to present the details of the settlement to the Minneapolis City Council on April 25. If approved by the council, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will either authorize or veto the settlement.

Should city government agree to the proposed settlement, Williams’ claims against Minneapolis will be dismissed in their entirety. Williams first brought his lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis in May of 2023, and amended his complaint in June of that year.

In Williams’ complaint, the City of Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, and Tou Thao were named as defendants; Chauvin and Thao were named in their capacity as city police officers.

According to the complaint, Williams made repeated statements to Chauvin and Thao expressing concern for George Floyd when the officers restrained Floyd on May 25, 2020. Additionally, Williams “criticized the officers’ actions within their earshot and alleges that these criticisms were heard by Chauvin and Thao.”

In turn, Williams alleges that he faced retribution for his statements. Instances of retribution alleged in the complaint include Chauvin supposedly grabbing a mace canister from his belt and waving it at Williams, Thao “forcefully” placing his hands “against Williams’ chest,” and Thao adjusting his body camera to “get a full view of Williams’ face.”

The complaint says, “As a result of the actions of Chauvin and Thao, Williams was fearful for his safety and the safety of others around him.” Furthermore, Williams has reportedly “experienced difficulty eating, weight loss, anxiety with difficulty breathing and increased heart rate, inability to sleep, inability to participate in activities, and other physical and mental manifestations” since the incident.

Alpha News previously reported on Williams’ lawsuit when it was first filed in May of 2023. Williams was charged with domestic assault by strangulation in August 2022, but the charges were later dropped. Court records show he pleaded guilty to violating a domestic abuse no-contact order in August 2023.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.