The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd this week was the subject of 18 previous complaints, CNN reports.
Derek Chauvin was arrested Friday and booked into the Ramsey County jail, where he’s being held on a $500,000 bond, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. He was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the Monday death of the 46-year-old Floyd, whom Chauvin detained while investigating a report of forgery at a grocery store.
Video from a bystander shows Chauvin, 44, kneeled into Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, even while Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. Floyd was handcuffed at the time and was not armed. Paramedics rushed Floyd to the hospital where he was declared dead.
Records from the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division show that only two complaints against Chauvin, who worked for the Minneapolis Police Department for 19 years, resulted in discipline — letters of reprimand — while 16 complaints were closed without discipline.
Documents also show that one of the other officers at the scene, Tou Thao, was the subject of six previous complaints, including one that is open. The five closed complaints did not result in discipline.
Thao was also a defendant in an excessive force lawsuit that the city of Minneapolis settled in 2017 for $25,000.The plaintiff in the case, Lamar Ferguson, alleged that Thao and other officers subjected him to “punches, kicks and knees to the face and body” while he was handcuffed. The injuries broke multiple teeth and caused trauma and bruising, according to CNN.
Thao has left Minnesota and is “safely elsewhere,” his lawyer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Meanwhile, the two other former officers who were at the scene when Floyd died are also laying low, according to the newspaper. All four of the officers were fired last week.
The nature of the complaints against Chauvin and Thao have not been released; state law allows disclosure of complaint and investigative details only when allegations have been substantiated.
In 2008, Chauvin shot a man in the stomach while investigating a report of a domestic assault, according to the newspaper. The owner of a nightclub where Chauvin previously worked part-time as security also told the Star Tribune that he could be quick to escalate situations.
“I’ve seen him in action and I’ve seen him lose it and I’ve called him out on it before,” Maya Santamaria told the newspaper. “I’ve told him it’s unnecessary and unjustified some of the ways that he behaves. He just loses it.”
Chauvin and Floyd worked at the same club for a time, but Santamaria said the does not believe the two knew each other.
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[Feature Photo: Derek Chauvin/Police Handout]