Multiple people have spoken out about their violent encounters with Derek Chauvin ahead of his trial over the death of George Floyd, accusing the former Minneapolis cop of using excessive force during arrests, including choking and kneeling on them.
Chauvin is scheduled to go on trial next Monday on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter stemming from Floyd’s arrest on May 25, during which the veteran police officer, who is white, was filmed kneeling on the black man’s neck while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe.
LaSean Braddock, a mental health worker from Minneapolis, told NBC News that when he saw video of Chavuin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck on the sidewalk, he recognized him as the officer who used force on him nearly seven years prior.
LaSean Braddock (left) says Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was one of officers who ‘jumped’ on his neck and back during a traffic stop in 2013. Chauvin is set to go on trial next week for the death of George Floyd, whose neck he knelt on in May 2020 (right)
Floyd, a black man, was handcuffed and pleaded with Chauvin that he couldn’t breathe
Braddock recounted how he was driving home after a double shift at work in November 2013 when he was yet again pulled over by the police – something he said he had gotten used after having his identity stolen.
Braddock, 48, said he showed the officer who stopped him documents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, proving that he was the victim of an identity theft, but the cop put them away without even looking at the contents and demanded that he step out of the car.
Braddock told the outlet that when he hesitated, because he did not know why he was stopped, the officer banged on his window with his flashlight, and then two other cops tried to pull him out of the driver’s seat, before he got out on his own.
‘Then they tried to slam me on the ground, but I was about 240 pounds,’ Braddock said. ‘Then they jumped on my head and my neck and my back. I was lying flat on the ground.’
Braddock was booked into the county jail on charges of failure to comply with police orders and obstruction of the legal process, but prosecutors dropped the case two months later, reportedly after reviewing dashboard camera video from the arrest.
Braddock filed a complaint against Chauvin a day after the traffic stop, alleging excessive force, but it was later dismissed without him being interviewed, or even notified, according to his attorney.
‘It’s unfortunate that they didn’t do anything to Derek Chauvin,’ Braddock told NBC. ‘If they had done something about it, it might not have went [sic] that far.’
Julian Hernandez, who also had a violent encounter with Chauvin about two years after Braddock’s run-in with the cop, expressed a similar opinion.
Chauvin, who has been booted from the force, will be tried on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter
Hernandez said in February 2015, he was at a concert with a large group of his co-workers at the El Nuevo Rodeo nightclub, where Chauvin worked as an off-duty security guard for 17 years, when he said the cop singled him out and ordered him to leave.
‘The whole club was still going,’ said Hernandez. ‘And he picked me out of everybody and told me that I had to go because they were going to close.’
Hernandez said he asked Chauvin to allow him get his jacket from the coat check, but he would not let him, even though it was the middle of winter in Minneapolis.
After Chauvin escorted Hernandez outside, the situation took a violent turn and he allegedly grabbed Hernandez by the neck.
‘Of course, I reacted, and then, after that, he choked me out on the ground,’ the man alleged.
Like Braddock before him, Hernandez filed an excessive force complaint against Chauvin, but it, too, was dismissed.
Chauvin’s attorney argued in court filings that the officer acted within the bounds of police department’s policy, which at the time allowed the use of neck restraints on a person who is actively resisting.
Police officers (L to R) J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Chauvin have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter
Hernandez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct two months later. The case was dismissed after he stayed out of trouble for a year.
Over the course of his 19 years on the force, Chauvin racked up at least a dozen complaints, but none of them resulted in disciplinary action, except for a letter of reprimand in one case.
Prosecutors in the Floyd case have sought to introduce into evidence several of those cases in a bid to establish a pattern of excessive force.
One of them concerns the June 2017 arrest of Zoya Code in connection with a domestic dispute involving a relative who accused the woman of trying to choke her.
Code told The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization, that when Chauvin went to detain her and she pulled away from him, he put her in the prone position on the ground and pressed his knee into her body.
After she was handcuffed and refused to walk to the patrol car, Code said Chauvin placed her face down on the sidewalk, prompting her to plead: ‘don’t kill me.’
Code was arrested on charges of misdemeanor domestic assault and disorderly conduct, which were later dropped.
A number of local activists organizers announced their plans to demonstrate on March 8 when jury selection begins in Chauvin’s trial
Workers install concertina wire between fenced barriers outside the Hennepin County Government Center as part of security in preparation for the trial
She is said to be listed as a prospective witness for the prosecution in Chauvin’s upcoming trial.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday, followed by opening statements on March 29.
Civil unrest after Floyd’s death spiraled and protests spread around the world and forced a painful reckoning on race in the United States.
Chauvin will stand trial alone in March due to the coronavirus pandemic while the other three former officers involved in Floyd’s arrest will be tried together in the summer, according to scheduling orders filed in Hennepin County District Court.
Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The judge ordered that the officers be tried separately due to spacing and social distancing requirements brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.