Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer who was seen in a viral video kneeling on the neck of a black man named George Floyd, sparking unrest throughout the city and outrage throughout the country, has now been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
AG Keith Ellison added that charge to the previous counts of third-degree murder and manslaughter filed against Chauvin by the Hennepin County Attorney. Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, the other three officers at the scene, are charged by Ellison with unintentional aiding and abetting second-degree murder as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The amended complaint adds new autopsy findings and says that “his condition continued to deteriorate such that force was no longer necessary to control him. The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Officer Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr. Floyd’s death as well.”
The new charges came after, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death was homicide, writing on June 1 that Floyd’s cause of death was: “Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
The ME gave the manner of death as “Homicide,” saying, “Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” They listed other significant conditions as “Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”
The second-degree murder charge is labeled unintentional while committing a felony. It alleges that Chauvin caused the death of Floyd “without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting, namely assault in the third degree.”
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced Chauvin’s arrest to reporters on May 29. Then came the news that Chauvin was charged criminally by prosecutors.
“I am here to announce former Derek Chauvin has been charged by the Hennepin County attorney’s office with murder and with manslaughter,” said the county attorney Mike Freeman. “We are in the process of continuing to review the evidence. There may be subsequent charges later. A detailed complaint will be made available…this afternoon. He’s in custody, and has been charged with murder. The investigation is ongoing.”
The complaint says that Floyd’s autopsy revealed “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” Chauvin “had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the complaint says. It also says that Chauvin disregarded another officer, Thomas Lane, who asked, “should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin allegedly responded, “No, staying put where we got him,” the complaint says. (You can read an extensive interview that Heavy conducted with a use-of-force expert here. In that interview, he said that keeping Floyd in a prone position was the most dangerous aspect he saw in the viral video and said that law enforcement has known about those dangers for decades.)
An independent autopsy conducted by a famed pathologist at the request of George Floyd’s family has found that “George Floyd’s death was due to asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure” by Minneapolis police officers, according to a news conference and release by the Floyd family attorneys.
“The knee to the neck and the knees to his back both contributed to him not being able to get breath,” said Floyd family attorney Ben Crump in the news conference. “And what those officers did, that we see on the video, is the cause of his death, not some underlying, unknown health condition. George Floyd was a healthy young man. We see in the video he was walking, breathing; he was alive. His cause of death medically was mechanical asphyxiation. The legal determination is homicide. That is it in a nutshell. The officers killed him based on a knee to his neck for almost nine minutes and two knees to his back compressing his lungs. The ambulance was his hearse.”
BREAKING: After announcing charges against Derek Chauvin, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says "the investigation is ongoing" with regards to three other former officers.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2020
The first charge was listed as “murder – 3rd degree – Perpetrating Eminently Dangerous Act and Evincing Depraved Mind.” It’s a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years. It alleges that Chauvin “caused the death of George Floyd by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.”
The second count was described as “2nd Degree – Culpable Negligence Creating Unreasonable Risk.” The maximum sentence for that felony is 10 years. It reads that Chauvin allegedly “caused the death of George Floyd by his culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk and taking a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to George Floyd.”
— Paul Walsh (@walshpj) May 30, 2020
Freeman said that, even the afternoon before, prosecutors still needed additional information before issuing charges. They now have the information they need, he said. Federal officials are also investigating the death after a video went viral showing Chauvin, 44, kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he continually complained that he couldn’t breathe. The video shows the officer continued kneeling on Floyd’s neck even after he appeared to go unresponsive, and numerous bystanders shouted that the officer was endangering Floyd and should get his knee off the man’s neck.
Asked about the other three officers at the scene of Floyd’s death, Freeman said, “We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator. This case has moved with extraordinary speed.” He called Chauvin’s actions with Floyd “this criminal action.” He said he has had discussions with an expert and has a preliminary report from the medical examiner, body camera video, and witness statements. The medical examiner has not publicly released the cause of death.
The other three officers are “under investigation. I anticipate charges,” Freeman said.
Here's how it happened:
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington went into a holding room immediately after this morning's newser.
That's where he got the call from the BCA superintendent.
Reporters were summoned to return.
5 minutes later, the announcement.
— Theo Keith (@TheoKeith) May 29, 2020
Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He’s not in the Hennepin County Jail, according to to jail records.
— Eric Chaloux (@EChalouxKSTP) May 29, 2020
Chauvin is a 19-year veteran of the force who has been involved in other shootings during those years.
Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng were the other three officers present, according to the city. Be forewarned that the video, which you can watch later in this article, is very disturbing. (Note: Chauvin’s wife, who has now filed for divorce is not the sister of Thao, her attorney said, debunking false social media rumors.)
Floyd’s death is sparking outrage, including from the Minneapolis mayor, and protests have erupted, leading to the torching of multiple businesses in Minneapolis, including the city’s 3rd police precinct, which was overrun and evacuated by the city. Multiple businesses, such as Target, have also been looted during the nights of unrest that set parts of the city ablaze.
Floyd’s sister, Vanita Williams-Dabney, wrote on Facebook, “My bro was killed by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day . . . R I.P. bro we will get Justice for u . . . gone2soon . . .loveU4life.”
The Minneapolis mayor tweeted previously that “four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called the four officers “former employees” in a news conference.
Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated.
This is the right call.
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) May 26, 2020
Floyd was originally from Houston, Texas. He was known by the nickname “Big Floyd,” his Facebook page says. The initial call came in for someone using a counterfeit bill at a store, Cup Foods, at 3759 Chicago Avenue.
In one bizarre twist, according to KTSP-TV, both Floyd and Chauvin worked security at El Nuevo Rodeo club, according to the building’s former owner, Maya Santamaria. “Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” Santamaria said to the television station. “They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.” She told KTSP that they “overlapped working security on popular music nights within the last year” but she can’t say for sure that they knew each other.
“As additional information has been made available, it has been determined that the Federal Bureau of Investigations will be a part of this investigation,” Minneapolis police wrote in a news release.
A community leader said during a press conference, standing next to the chief and mayor, that the death was a “lynching.”
“We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Too many lives have been taken,” she said. “Yesterday what we saw was a black man who was lynched. They didn’t use rope. He used his knee. And that black man, Mr. Floyd, said I can not breathe. Minnesota prides itself on being progressive, and being the north, but this is the Jim Crow north and we demand justice.”
She said she was thankful to the chief and the mayor “for standing with us. We are standing together as a community. We are a collective, and we will not be divided. We are done dying.”
Heavy reached out to Tom Kelly, the lawyer for Chauvin, and his office said Kelly is not commenting right now on the case and that reporters should direct their questions to the Minneapolis Police Department. Lt. Bob Kroll of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis told CBS Minneapolis: “Now is not the time rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers. An in-depth investigation is underway. Our officers are fully cooperating. We must review all video. We must wait for the medical examiner’s report.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Disturbing Video Shows Floyd Saying, ‘Please, I Can’t Breathe’ as the Officer Keeps His Knee Pinned on the Man’s Neck; the Complaint Says Officers Tried Unsuccessfully to Get Floyd Into a Squad Car
The criminal complaint says that a person called 911 on May 25, 2020, and reported that a man “bought merchandise from Cup Foods…with a counterfeit $20 bill.”
Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived at 8:08 p.m. They learned from store personnel that the man “who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner from the store on 38th Street.”
The officers’ body-worn cameras show that the officers approached the car, with Lake on the driver’s side and Kueng on the passenger side. Three people were in the car. George Floyd was in the driver’s scene and an adult male and female were also in the vehicle, the complaint says.
The complaint further alleges:
As Officer Lane began speaking with Floyd, “he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands.” Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel, so Lane put his gun back in its holster. (The body cam videos have not yet been released publicly.)
When Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Lane ordered Floyd out of the car, put his hands on Floyd, and pulled him out of the car, handcuffing him. “Mr. Floyd actively resisted being handcuffed,” the complaint alleges.
Once handcuffed, Floyd “became compliant” and walked with Lane to the sidewalk, sitting on the ground at Lane’s direction. There was a conversation for under two minutes. Lang asked Floyd for his name and identification and whether he was on anything and explained he was arrested Floyd for passing counterfeit currency, the complaint stated.
Kueng and Lane stood Floyd up and attempted to walk him to their squad car at 8:14 p.m. Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.”
That’s when Chauvin and Officer Tou Thao arrived in a separate squad car.
“The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of squad 320 from the driver’s side. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still,” the complaint alleges. “Mr. Floyd is over six feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds.”
While standing outside the car, Floyd began “saying and repeatedly that he could not breathe.” Chauvin went to the passenger side and “tried to get Mr. Floyd into the car from that side and Lane and Kueng assisted,” according to the complaint.
Chauvin “pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed,” said the complaint.
It alleged that Kueng held Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs. Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Floyd’s head and neck. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeatedly said, “Mama.”
“The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions,” according to the complaint.
The officers said, “You are talking fine,” to Floyd. Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin allegedly responded, “No, staying put where we got him.”
Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach,” according to the complaint, which added that “none of the three officers moved from their positions.”
The body cam video shows that Floyd continued to move and breathe but stopped moving at 8:24:24.
At 8:25:31, the video appears to show Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, “I want to roll him on his side.” Kueng checked Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” None of the officers moved from their positions.
At 8:27:24, Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck. An ambulance arrived and Floyd was placed on a gurney. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Police use-of-force experts have been highly critical of Chauvin’s actions in the video.
Seth Stoughton is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of law, a former Florida police officer and co-author of a book called Evaluating Police Uses of Force. He studies policing and how it is regulated. He spoke to Heavy at length about the case.
“I honestly don’t see a whole lot that went right,” said Stoughton of what he saw in the citizen video showing officers and Floyd.
He said Floyd appeared to be “unconscious for four minutes before Officer Chauvin got off his neck. It took the bystanders about 20 seconds to start saying he was non-responsive. … Officers are under an obligation to monitor the person they’re arresting. Saying we didn’t notice is not a good excuse. You should have. That’s your job. It’s one of the most tragic aspects of this case. I would be expecting officers to be monitoring his vitals, checking his pulse, making sure he has a heartbeat and is still breathing.”
He stressed: “They should have realized there was something wrong.”
What he saw in the video made Stoughton feel “appalled, absolutely appalled.” He continued:
What the officers did in this case was so far from what well-trained professional officers are supposed to do that it was appalling. It was infuriating. The highest priority in policing is supposed to be preserving the sanctity of human life. These officers gave every indication that they could care less about Mr. Floyd and his well-being. It’s simply not appropriate. Officers are under an obligation to protect individuals, including the individuals they arrest.
In the case of Floyd, he said, “The shin was across the neck the entire time. It was completely inappropriate. At one point, you see the officer shift very visibly to put more weight on the shin against the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck.”
He believes “there were multiple things done wrong; that is one of them.” The bigger problem with the police actions, in his opinion, was “keeping someone in a prone position for so long.” It’s a well-known phenomenon to law enforcement that putting a person “face down handcuffed can cause positional or compression asphyxia,” he said. “I would be shocked and appalled if the officers didn’t know about the risks of positional asphyxia. It’s a standard part of police training. After you handcuff someone, you get them out of the prone position, even if you don’t have a knee in their back.” He stressed, though, that the cause of death has still not been determined by the medical examiner and other evidence, both body camera video and non-video evidence, will also be important in understanding what happened to Floyd. You can read more details from Stoughton’s interview with Heavy here.
Asked for his response after the complaint was issued, Stoughton said, “…the primary danger of the prone restraint is asphyxiation. I thought it was very interesting that the complaint uses the phrase ‘traumatic asphyxiation,’ although you’d have to consult a doctor to see whether that is a relevant distinction. I would need to review the autopsy to figure out exactly what the ME found, but the physical strain of being in the prone position, including difficulty breathing, can also put significant stress on the heart. In 2016, for example, Tony Timpa died of cardiac arrest after Dallas police put him in the same position.”
Stoughton said there are a “couple of issues in the complaint” filed by the Hennepin County Attorney which will make the Chauvin prosecution complex:
First, and most obviously, is the ambiguity in the cause of death. For any homicide charge, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant caused the victim’s death; that is, that the victim would not have died at that point but for the defendant’s actions. That’s easiest when the defendant’s actions were the only thing that caused the victim’s death, but it is enough if the defendant just contributed to the victim’s death. The defense will seek to raise a reasonable doubt about the cause of death, probably by arguing that Mr. Floyd would have died anyway even if the officers had done everything correctly. Second, the complaint has to allege and the prosecution has to prove the other elements of the offense. Under Minnesota law, third degree murder applies when the defendant ‘without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.’ The prosecution has to establish that 1) what Derek Chauvin was doing was eminently dangerous to others, and 2) that he evinced a depraved mind and disregard for human life. I didn’t see much of anything in the complaint on those points, and you can bet that the defense will argue that 1) what the officers were doing wasn’t ’eminently dangerous’ and, 2) even if it was, Derek Chauvin was doing what he thought was right.
According to CBS Minneapolis, in Minneapolis, “kneeling on a suspect’s neck is allowed under the department’s use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway.” However, some police training experts told the station they believed the officer compressed Floyd’s neck for too long because he was under control and not fighting them.
A 10-minute video was posted to Facebook by a bystander. It paints an extremely troubling scene of what happened to Floyd. You can watch it above, but be warned that it’s very disturbing.
“Please, I can’t breathe. Please man. Please,” Floyd says, his voice anguished.
The officer, now identified as Chauvin, has his knee on the man’s neck against a squad car, as Floyd continues saying he can’t breathe. There is a second officer standing nearby at the scene and a third next to Chauvin, and bystanders grow increasingly distressed in the video at what they are watching.
“Why you got him down, man. Let him breathe at least, man,” says one bystander to the officers.
Floyd repeats again, several times, “I can’t breathe.” He added, “I can’t move. … My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. Please, please.”
“His nose is bleeding, c’mon now,” says a passerby. “You’ve got your knee on his neck,” says another bystander.
“How long you’ll gotta hold him down?” says a woman. “You can put him in a car,” says a man.
“That’s bullsh*t bro. … you’re f*cking stopping his breathing,” says a bystander.
People challenged the officer to just put the man in a car. The bystanders call the officer a “bum” and claim he’s stopping Floyd’s breathing.
Partway through the video, Floyd stops talking, but the officer keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck, the video shows.
“He’s not responsive right now,” challenges a bystander.
“Check his pulse,” demands a man.
The second officer, named as Tou Thao, sometimes interacts with the passerby. “Check his pulse. The man ain’t move yet, bro,” demands a bystander.
“He’s not f*cking moving. Get off of his f*cking neck,” the man yells. “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
“He’s black. They don’t care,” says a woman.
Paramedics eventually show up with a gurney after Floyd has gone silent for some time.
“The fact you guys aren’t checking his pulse and doing compression if he needs help?” says an upset woman.
“You just really killed that man, bro,” says a man to Chauvin, who appears unemotional and impassive throughout the video.
Only three officers can be seen in the video, one briefly and barely. However, a photo on Twitter from a different angle appears to show four officers:
— Michel M (@michelm04) May 26, 2020
The initial headline on the police press release stated, “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” However, top Minneapolis officials are becoming increasingly critical of the officer.
New video sent to us shows the moment George Floyd was removed from his vehicle and handcuffed on 38th and Chicago.
Video courtesy of Christopher Belfrey pic.twitter.com/MiIIula4sA
— Alex Lehnert (@AlexLehnertFox9) May 26, 2020
Here’s a video showing the earlier scene. There are also police body cam videos, but they haven’t yet been released.
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) May 26, 2020
According to the Star Tribune, police spokesman John Elder said Floyd died at a nearby hospital a short time later. He “suffered a medical episode while struggling with officers,” Elder said a few hours after the incident occurred and said he appeared to be under the influence of either alcohol or another drug, the newspaper reported. However, Elder now says the chokehold was not a department-authorized technique, according to the newspaper, which quoted him as saying, “In my years as an officer, that would not be what I would ever consider a chokehold.”
2. The Initial Police Press Release Claimed the Man ‘Physically Resisted Officers’ but the Mayor Now Says Officer Chauvin ‘Failed in the Most Basic, Human Sense’; Protesters Have Also Gathered at a Home Chauvin Owns in Florida
Protesters have gathered around Chauvin’s Minnesota home, and they’ve also showed up at a home the officer owns in Florida.
“Like a lot of other people, we learned a couple of days ago through social media that the former Minneapolis police officer, in fact, had an address – a home – here in Windermere,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina told WFLA-TV. “We went out there to kind of monitor the situation.”
The Orange County sheriff told the television station that he reached Chauvin’s family but they’re not at the home. He said Chauvin is not at the home and doesn’t plan to go there.
Sheriff Mina says the now former #Minnesota police officer involved in the George Floyd death owns a home in Orange County, FL, but is not there. He says they’ve been told he has no plan to come here either. #WESH pic.twitter.com/7vwlKhfqyD
— Bob Hazen WESH (@HazenWESH) May 29, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been harshly critical, saying in a news conference, “For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense. What happened on Chicago and 38th last night is awful. It was traumatic. It serves as a reminder of how far we have to go.”
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) May 26, 2020
The police chief said in a May 26 news conference that “there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing, but the vast majority of the work we do does never require use of force.” He offered his “deepest condolences” to Floyd’s family members, saying he was up all night “reviewing the information that I have to make the decision that I am standing before you today with many of the community leaders behind me.”
He then referred to the four involved officers as “former employees,” saying “I’ve made that decision this afternoon.” He said the death is still an ongoing criminal matter being investigated by agencies including the FBI.
“What occurred last night is certainly very tragic, and very sad,” said the police chief.
The chief said that public trust “must be the cornerstone” of how the Minneapolis Police Department will change its culture.
“The vast majority of the men and women who proudly put on this uniform each and every day understand the important role and relationship we must have with all of our community members,” said the chief.
At the news conference, the mayor said, “I will say simply that I support your decision 100%. It is the right decision for our city. The right decision for our community. The right decision for our Minneapolis Police Department. We’ve stated our values, and we need to live by them.”
According to the police press release, “On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 pm, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence.”
At that point, “Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”
The release added, “At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate this incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department. No officers were injured in the incident. Body worn cameras were on and activated during this incident.”
In a news conference after outrage erupted over the video and death, Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that he asked for the federal investigation because there was “additional information that I had received that quite frankly, from community sources, that just provided more context than I had preliminarily.”
3. Chauvin is Married to a Hmong Woman Who Competed for the Mrs. Minnesota Title & He Has Worked for Minneapolis Police Since 2001
A 2008 article from TwinCities.com says Chauvin joined the Minneapolis Police Academy in October 2001 and had “worked in the first, third, fourth precincts and the water works security detail.”
A 2018 article in the Crookston Times gives some insight into Chauvin’s biography as it profiles Chauvin’s wife.
The article describes how Chauvin’s wife was born in Laos but fled to a Thai refugee camp with her family with only the possessions “they could carry on their backs” before moving to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
When she was 18, she married a man she barely knew at her parents’ behest; however, after a decade of abuse, she divorced him and moved to Minnesota, the article says. She earned a degree in radiology and forged a career in a Hennepin County emergency room. That’s where she met Chauvin in 2010, the article notes. He brought someone in for a health check and ended up asking her on a date.
“Under all that uniform, he’s just a softie,” Chauvin’s wife told the Crookston Times. “He’s such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.” She switched careers to real estate.
Chauvin’s wife now says she’s divorcing him.
Through her attorney wife of former Officer Derek Chauvin the former Minneapolis Police Officer charged with murdering #GeorgeFloyd released a statement saying she is devastated by Floyd’s death, sends condolences to his family and is divorcing her husband @wcco pic.twitter.com/A5n7bYgdbK
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) May 30, 2020
Chauvin’s family has roots in Michigan, according to online obituaries.
Chauvin appears to have a side career in real estate.
I confirmed Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is also a licensed real estate agent. I obtained his application, which states he's a Florida resident, and not a Minnesota resident. Tax records show he and his wife own homes in Oakdale, Minnesota and Windermere, Florida.
— Tony Webster (@webster) May 29, 2020
One woman wrote on Facebook that Chauvin was “just at the customized living apartment building I work in. He’s also my realtors that got me the place in Woodbury it’s her husband he showed us 3 different townhomes for her before we settled on this one it’s really sad,” she wrote. She added: “I knew he was strange.” A Derek Chauvin is listed on realtor websites in Minnesota.
4. Chauvin Was Involved in 3 Other Police Shootings
Chauvin’s name appears in an entry in a report by Communities United Against Police Brutality called “Stolen Lives in Minnesota: People Who Have Lost their Lives Through Encounters with Law Enforcement Authorities.”
It says he fired at a man named Wayne Reyes in October 2006. “Minneapolis Police responded after Wayne stabbed his girlfriend and a male friend. He drove off, starting a police pursuit. When police stopped him, they claim he aimed a shotgun toward them. Six Minneapolis police officers –Dante Dean, Brian Grahme, Shawn Kelly, Oscar Macias, Terry Nutter and Derek Chauvin –fired on him. He was 42 years old,” the report says.
According to the Star Tribune, he was involved in two other police-involved shootings as well. The other two involved Leroy Martinez and Ira Latrell Toles.
TwinCities.com says in a 2008 article that Chauvin, then a seven-year veteran, shot Toles “during a domestic assault call.” Dispatchers had heard a woman telling someone to stop hitting her in a 911 call, according to the article. The article states that Chauvin and another officer forced their way into the apartment and Toles ran from them. They caught “and tried to subdue him” but in a struggle, he grabbed at one of their guns, and Chauvin shot him in the torso.
A 2011 story by CBS Local describes the Martinez shooting. It occurred in the Little Earth residential community and Martinez was shot in the torso. In that case, then-Minneapolis Police Chief Timothy Dolan said the officers acted “appropriately and courageously,” according to the television station.
The article states that Officers Terry Nutter, Steve Herron, Derek Chauvin, Brandon Brugger and Gwen Gunter responded to a shooting in the Little Earth residential community when they encountered Martinez running away with a pistol. They chased him and an officer shot him after the officers told Martinez to drop his weapon, the story says. It doesn’t say which man shot Martinez, who is an Alaskan Native American who “may have been targeting a fellow resident when the initial shots were fired,” according to the television station, which says Martinez was charged with felony assault. The Star Tribune reported that Nutter was the officer who fired in that incident.
5. A Series of Complaints Were Filed Against Chauvin Over the Years but Didn’t Result in Discipline; the Officer is Being Represented by an Attorney Who Previously Handled a High-Profile Police Shooting Case
A dozen complaints come up against Chauvin in the police database but they are listed as “non-public” and “no discipline.” The details of the incidents were not clear.
TwinCities.com reported in 2008 that Chauvin once received a department medal of valor “for his response in an incident involving a man armed with a gun.”
Heavy has asked both the police review board and Minneapolis Police Department for details on the complaints. Heavy also asked Minneapolis police for a full listing of any merit citations or awards for both Chauvin and Thao.
Chauvin is being represented by Tom Kelly, the attorney who represented officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop in a community near Minneapolis. That death also provoked major outrage after the shooting’s aftermath was streamed on Facebook Live.
Just heard from local defense atty Tom Kelly. He confirms he is representing the MPD officer involved in this deadly arrest overnight. Kelly was part of Jeronimo Yanez legal team. Kelly says he is deferring all comment to #Mpls police department at this point. https://t.co/qLESm4oNXZ
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) May 26, 2020
Yanez was charged but found not guilty by a jury.
A photo circulating around social media that purports to show Chauvin wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” hat is not actually Chauvin, however. That’s a hoax. You can read more about that photo here.