Prosecutors pushing to show video of Chauvin kneeing back of teen boy
The former cop allegedly has a pattern of excessive use-of-force incidents
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, allegedly used similar excessive force when he pressed his knee on the back of a 14-year-old boy three years ago.
Prosecutors in Chauvin’s murder case want to show jurors a 2017 video of the ex-cop kneeing the teenager as he is pleading for his life. The effort is to demonstrate that Chauvin has a pattern of violent encounters with suspects.
Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes.
On Monday, a motion was filed in Hennepin County District court noting that old body camera footage shows Chauvin “intentionally uses a level of unreasonable force to accomplish [sic] subdual and restraint” on a “suspect who does not immediately comply with his demands,” assistant state Attorney General Matthew Frank said, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, said his client’s use of force complied with the Minneapolis police department’s then-policy regarding the handling of uncooperative suspects.
“The similarities between the State’s proffered acts, which were noncriminal incidents of Mr. Chauvin acting in his duties as a Minneapolis Police officer, and the charged offenses are merely: They involved Mr. Chauvin effecting, or assisting in, the arrest of a suspect; all involved resistance from or a struggle with a suspect; some involved Mr. Chauvin using his body weight to control an arrestee; some involved a neck restraint,” Nelson wrote, the Star Tribune reports.
“This is simply insufficient to show a marked similarity between the proffered incidents and the charged offenses,” the lawyer continued.
On September 4, 2017, Chauvin, an officer of 19 years, was responding to a domestic dispute after a mom claimed her son and daughter assaulted her.
Chauvin found the boy laying on the floor in the back of the house and on his phone. When he ordered him to get up because he was under arrest, the kid refused. Chauvin then grabbed his throat and struck the teenager in his head with a flashlight, prosecutors said.
Chauvin forced the boy onto the ground and placed his knee on his neck. Crying in pain, the minor said he could not breathe, but Chauvin ignored his cries and denied him medical assistance. The teen is reportedly 6’2 and weighted 240 pounds.
“As was true with the conduct with George Floyd, Chauvin rapidly escalated his use of force for a relatively minor offense. Just like with Floyd, Chauvin used an unreasonable amount of force without regard for the need for that level of force or the victim’s well-being,” assistant state Attorney General Matthew Frank wrote in the filing. “Just like with Floyd, when the child was slow to comply with Chauvin and Walls’ instructions, Chauvin grabbed the child by the throat, forced him to the ground in the prone position, and placed his knee on the child’s neck with so much force that the child began to cry out in pain and tell Chauvin he could not breathe. And just like with Floyd, Chauvin ignored those pleas and refused to provide medical assistance.”
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who is overseeing Chauvin’s murder case, dismissed the third-degree murder charge last month.
Cahill also tossed the aiding and abetting charges against the other officers involved with Floyd’s death: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, The Hill reported.
Chauvin’s trial is set to start on March 8. He is charged with unintentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
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