The family of George Floyd is suing police and local government over the death of the black American man whose name has become synonymous with a global anti-racism movement.
Lawyers for the relatives argue that when Mr Floyd died after being held down by a policeman’s knee, he had “the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department” on his neck.
It comes as new body-cam footage was released in court on Thursday morning (Australian time), showing a distressed Mr Floyd pleaded with the officers who arrested him on May 25.
“I’m not a bad guy,” he is heard saying in the recording.
“I’m not that kind of guy.
“I just had COVID, man, I don’t want to go back to that.”
The recording shows an onlooker pleading with Mr Floyd to stop struggling, saying “you can’t win”.
Mr Floyd replies “I don’t want to win”.
A few minutes later, with Mr Floyd now face-down on the street, the cameras record his fading voice, still occasionally saying, “I can’t breathe” before he goes still.
The recordings from the cameras of ex-officers Thomas Lane and J Kueng are part of the criminal case against them and two others.
Derek Chauvin, who held his knee against Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, is charged with second-degree murder.
Lane, Kueng and another officer, Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting.
The Floyd family announced on Thursday it was suing the four officers.
They also argue the city of Minneapolis allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force.
“This complaint shows what we have said all along, that Mr Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” family lawyer Ben Crump said.
“The City of Minneapolis has a history of policies, procedures and deliberate indifference that violates the rights of arrestees, particularly Black men, and highlights the need for officer training and discipline.”
Mr Crump said the lawsuit sought to set a precedent “that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalised people – especially black people – in the future”.
All four officers were fired the day after Mr Floyd’s death, which set off protests that spread around the world and turned into a national reckoning on race in the US.
Publicity about his plight also sparked calls to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new public safety department.
A majority of city council members supported the move, saying the department had a long history and culture of brutality that had resisted change.
Families of victims of other high-profile police shootings have received high payouts in Minnesota.
Last year, Minneapolis agreed to pay $US20 million ($A29 million) to the family of Australian Justine Ruszczyk, who was shot by an officer after she made an emergency phone call to report a possible crime near her home.
The settlement came three days after the officer, Mohamed Noor, was convicted of murdering her and is believed to be the largest payout stemming from police violence in Minnesota.