Kanye West has sparked a backlash by questioning the cause of death of George Floyd, a black man whose death in 2020 in police custody sparked a wave of social unrest in the US. Floyd’s relatives are now considering a lawsuit against the hip hop star, according to their lawyer.
Appearing on the ‘Drink Champs’ podcast on Sunday, West claimed that Floyd had died from fentanyl poisoning, rather than the actions of police officer Derek Chauvin. “I watched the George Floyd documentary that Candace Owens put out… They hit him with the fentanyl. If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that,” West said, apparently suggesting that Floyd was forcibly given the drug.
After the podcast host warned West about being “careful with this subject,” the rapper went on to question whether his interview would even be published, claiming that the “jewish media blocked me out.” He has already been suspended from several social media platforms for putting out a series of anti-Semitic tweets earlier this month, saying he was going “death con 3 on jewish people” and accusing them of creating cancel culture. West also stirred controversy recently by making an appearance at this year’s Paris Fashion Week wearing a shirt bearing the words ‘White Lives Matter’.
In response to West’s claims, Floyd’s family is now considering a lawsuit against him, according to the family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt. In a tweet on Sunday, he claimed that questioning Floyd’s cause of death “undermines & diminishes the Floyd family’s fight.”
While traces of several drugs, including fentanyl, were found in Floyd’s system during the autopsy, the official reason for his death was determined to be cardiopulmonary arrest caused by Chauvin kneeling on his neck for eight minutes. The official findings state that Floyd had been deprived of oxygen, which resulted in brain damage, heart failure and, eventually, death.
Chauvin, a 46-year-old Minneapolis Police Department veteran who had been on the force for 19 years, has since pleaded guilty to causing Floyd’s death and has been convicted for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He is currently serving a 21-year sentence in a federal prison.
The May 2020 arrest and subsequent death of Floyd helped spark a wave of racial justice protests across not only the US but other Western nations as well. It also helped give rise to the infamous Black Lives Matter movement, which held protests that in some cases turned violent, leaving dozens of Americans dead and causing billions of dollars in property damage.