Mpls. approves $150k settlement with George Floyd witness who alleged ’emotional distress’

The settlement was approved Thursday morning by the City Council.

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

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a $150,000 settlement with a man who alleged “emotional distress” after witnessing the George Floyd incident in May of 2020.

The settlement was approved Thursday morning by the council but must be signed by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey in order to be officially authorized.

In 2023, Donald Williams brought a lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis in which he claimed 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 on the day Floyd died.

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 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 alleged 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 that Minneapolis had reached a settlement agreement with Williams. However, the exact settlement figure had not been released at that time.


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.