George Floyd cop Derek Chauvin knelt on 14-yr-old's back while he struggled to breathe in 2017, prosecutors reveal
Chauvin's attorney argue that the force used in incidents cited was according to the police department's then-policy on dealing with uncooperative suspects
Prosecutors in Derek Chauvin's trial want to show the court earlier examples of use-of-force incidents by the former Minneapolis cop and Chauvin's attorneys are now asking the judge to block this motion. Chauvin is facing murder charges in George Floyd's death. He faces counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. The video of the incident that took place on May 25 captured Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes as Floyd told him and three other officers he couldn't breathe.
What prosecutors now want to put forward in court is from a 2017 arrest where body camera footage shows that Chauvin had also earlier knelt on the back of a 14-year-old boy who had struggled to breathe. In a motion that was filed on Monday, November 16, prosecutors revealed that body camera footage from previous incidents of arrest showed that "when faced with a suspect who does not immediately comply with his demands, Chauvin intentionally uses a level of unreasonable force to accomplish subdual and restraint," countering the defense claim that Chauvin used 'reasonable force' on Floyd three years later, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.
Chauvin's defense attorneys had countered this by arguing that the force used in prior incidents was keeping with the department's then-policy on dealing with uncooperative suspects. They also said that it was irrelevant for the trial.
As per the footage, Chauvin along with another officer had been responding to a domestic assault on September 4, 2017 where a mother shared that she had been assaulted by her son and her daughter who were both minors. After arriving, the officers had found the son lying on the floor at the back of the house on his phone. The officers ordered him to get up as he was under arrest and when he refused, Chauvin grabbed him and without saying anything, hit the teenager in the head with a flashlight and then grabbed him by the throat. He then proceeded to hit him again with the flashlight, all of which had taken place less than a minute after the officers first encountered the boy, prosecutors revealed. They added how the video showed Chauvin applying a neck restraint on the child who had briefly lost his consciousness.
Chauvin had then placed him in a prone position with a knee to the back for almost 17 minutes before paramedics arrived. Prosecutors shared that Chauvin continued to dig his knee into the child's back even after the child said he was in pain and could not breathe. Even the child's mother had tried to intervene.
Prosecutors said, "As was true with the conduct with George Floyd, Chauvin rapidly escalated his use of force for a relatively minor offense."
The Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill has not yet ruled on the motions filed. It was just last week that Cahill had ruled that Chauvin and three other officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who had been present at the scene will be tried together versus being tried separately. The trial is set to start on March 8. In their earlier filings, prosecutors sought to introduce evidence from seven prior incidents involving Chauvin to show a pattern of excessive force before his encounter with Floyd. They also cited one prior episode involving Kueng and nine involving Thao.
Cahill had also ruled that Chauvin and his co-defendants would be facing trial in Hennepin County and had rejected a defense motion to have the trial moved somewhere else in the state. Cahill had written, "No corner of the State of Minnesota has been shielded from pretrial publicity regarding the death of George Floyd. Because of that pervasive media coverage, a change of venue is unlikely to cure the taint of potential prejudicial pretrial publicity."