(The Hill) – The family of George Floyd is considering legal action against Kanye West over the rapper’s comments about Floyd’s death, an attorney for the family said.
West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, said on the “Drink Champs” podcast Sunday that Floyd’s death was the result of an overdose and not from former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the Black man’s neck for more than nine minutes.
“I watched the George Floyd documentary that Candace Owens put out,” Ye said. “One of the things that his two roommates said was they want a tall guy like me, and the day that he died, he said a prayer for eight minutes. They hit him with fentanyl. If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that.”
A jury last year convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder in Floyd’s death, and he later pleaded guilty to federal charges of using excessive force under color of law.
After the episode aired on YouTube, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represented the family of Floyd, tweeted the family was considering a suit against the Grammy-award winning musician.
“While one cannot defame the dead, the family of #GeorgeFloyd is considering suit for Kanye’s false statements about the manner of his death,” Merritt tweeted.
“Claiming Floyd died from fentanyl not the brutality established criminally and civilly undermines & diminishes the Floyd family’s fight.”
TheGrio reported Monday that the attorney was alerted of Ye’s comments by Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother.
“I have put together a working team to investigate [West’s] statements and to investigate the source of those statements,” Merritt said.
While the medical examiner’s report did confirm Floyd had both fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, the drugs were not listed as the cause. Testimony from Dr. Andrew Baker, chief medical examiner in Hennepin County, showed it was the police officer’s compression of Floyd’s neck that was the cause of his death.
Ye’s comments come after several weeks of negative feedback for wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week, as well as for antisemitic remarks.