HOUSTON — The family of George Floyd is considering legal action after they said Kanye West made “false statements about the manner of his death.”
The artist, who now goes by “Ye," attempted to link Floyd’s death to fentanyl during an interview on the "Drink Champs" podcast, which has been removed from the production's platform.
Attorney Lee Merritt said he was contacted by Floyd's brother over the weekend who was angry and distraught over the comments West made.
"For a lot of us, it was something that happened in the media a few years ago," Merritt said. "For them, it was the death of a family member and they wake up to that loss every day."
The medical examiner confirmed Floyd died due to Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee being on him for more than eight minutes, causing asphyxiation.
"We have use of force experts, in support of the actual cause of death," Merritt said. "The truth is, the person with the largest megaphone, tends to win the debate. This is why it’s particularly problematic with Kanye West, with millions of followers and supporters worldwide, is the one making these statements."
While Merritt said he can’t bring forward a defamation lawsuit on behalf of someone who is deceased, the family could sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress. He cited the recent Alex Jones trial as an example, which held the conspiracy theorist liable for repeatedly calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax.
"Certainly the Alex Jones trial created precedent that family members, false and defamatory statements, something to consider when investigating potential litigation," Merritt said.
As is customary with cases like this, Merritt said his team is sending a “cease and desist” to West and said Floyd’s family ultimately wants the artist to retract his statement and apologize.