Who is Officer Derek Chauvin?
Derek Chauvin is the former officer in the video seen around the world with his knee on Floyd’s neck. He’d been with Minneapolis police for 19 years.
Chauvin has been involved in use-of-force situations before. According to a Pioneer Press article, Chauvin shot a man during a domestic assault call in 2008.
According to reports, the man had reached for Chauvin’s gun. And as WCCO reported, in 2011 he was one of 5 officers cleared after a police involved shooting in Little Earth.
Minneapolis City Council records show that Chauvin moonlighted as a bouncer at a downtown Latin nightclub. He was among a group of six officers who opened fire on a stabbing suspect in 2006 after a chase that ended when the suspect pointed a sawed-off shotgun at them. The suspect, Wayne Reyes, was hit multiple times and died. A grand jury decided the use of force was justified.
Two years later, Chauvin shot Ira Latrell Toles as he was responding to a domestic dispute.
According to a Pioneer Press account of the incident, a 911 operator received a call from an apartment and heard a woman yelling for someone to stop hitting her. Chauvin and another officer arrived just as Toles locked himself in the bathroom. Chauvin forced his way into the bathroom. Toles went for Chauvin’s gun and Chauvin shot him twice in the stomach. Toles survived and was charged with two counts of felony obstruction.
Toles told the Daily Beast that the mother of his child called police that night and he fled into the bathroom after officers broke down the apartment door. Chauvin then broke down the bathroom door and started to hit him without warning. He said he fought back in self-defense and was too disoriented to go for Chauvin’s gun.
Toles said he ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and still feels pain from the shooting.
“He tried to kill me in that bathroom,” Toles said.
Online city records also show that 17 complaints have been filed against Chauvin. Sixteen complaints were closed with no discipline. The remaining complaint generated two letters of reprimand, with one apparently related to the use of a squad car dashboard camera. The records don’t include any details on the substance of the complaints.
Chauvin also was among a group of five officers in 2011 who chased down an American Indian, Leroy Martinez, in a housing complex after they spotted him running with a pistol. One of the officers, Terry Nutter, shot Martinez in the torso. Martinez survived. All the officers were placed on leave but absolved of any wrongdoing, with Police Chief Timothy Dolan saying they acted “appropriately and courageously.”
A pattern of brutality..a pattern of ‘appropriate behavior’ excused by the police….hopefully this ‘pattern’ comes to an end this time.