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The former Minneapolis police officer who was filmed pinning George Floyd on the ground with his knee already had 18 complaints against him before Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin and three other officers were fired from their positions with the Minneapolis Police Department following the death of 46-year-old Floyd, which has sparked global outrage.
Floyd, who was unarmed, was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by his neck, despite telling officers he could not breathe and pleading ‘don’t kill me’. He lost consciousness and was later declared dead at a nearby hospital.
The horrific incident was caught on camera, and has since prompted huge international protests as people call for the officers involved to face criminal charges.
It has now been revealed that Chauvin already had 18 prior complaints filed against him within the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs, CNN reports.
While the police department didn’t disclose what the exact complaints made against Chauvin were, a spokesperson said only two of the 18 had been ‘closed with discipline’, indicating that in both cases the ‘discipline issued’ had been a letter of reprimand.
According to reports in the New York Times, in 2006 Chauvin was among six officers who opened fire at Wayne Reyes, following a chase that saw Reyes point a sawed-off shotgun at them. Reyes died after he was shot multiple times by the officers, however a grand jury decided the force used against him was justified.
In 2008, 44-year-old Chauvin attended a domestic dispute, where he reportedly shot Ira Latrell Toles twice in the stomach. It’s said police were called to an apartment after a woman was heard shouting for someone to stop hitting her. When police arrived, Toles apparently locked himself in the bathroom. Chauvin forced his way into the bathroom, and then Toles allegedly went for his gun, prompting Chauvin to shoot him twice. Toles survived the shots and was charged with two counts of felony obstruction.
However, Toles told the Daily Beast when Chauvin broke down the door, the officer began hitting him without warning, claiming that he fought back in self-defence and was too disorientated to go for the gun.
In 2011, Chauvin was one of five officers who chased down Leroy Martinez in a housing complex. His fellow officer, Terry Nutter, reportedly shot Martinez in the torso, though fortunately he survived. All of the officers were placed on leave, however they were cleared of any wrongdoing, with police chief Timothy Dolan saying they had acted ‘appropriately and courageously’.
Meanwhile, one of the other officers present during Floyd’s apprehension and death, Tou Thao, had six complaints filed against him with internal affairs. One of them is said to remain open.
To add to the troubling details of the killing, a former nightclub owner has revealed that both Floyd and Chauvin worked as security at her business until the end of last year.
Maya Santamaria, who owned El Nuevo Rodeo in Minneapolis, told KSTP-TV that she couldn’t say for sure whether the pair knew each other, however she believed they almost certainly will have been on shift together at one stage or another.
‘Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,’ she told the station. ‘They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.’
Santamaria said Chauvin was prone to having a temper and overreacting in certain situations.
‘He sometimes had a real short fuse and he seemed afraid,’ she said. ‘When there was an altercation he always resorted to pulling out his mace and pepper spraying everybody right away, even if I felt it was unwarranted.’
Santamaria went on to say she’s thought a lot about how different things could have been if Chauvin had recognised Floyd that day.
Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, said her shared Christian faith with her brother led her to believe the officers will eventually be charged with killing the ‘gentle giant’.
Rest in peace, George.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
New York Times
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