Derek Chauvin, the white police officer accused in the death of George Floyd had used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times before. This includes four incidents in which prosecutors say he went too far.
In July 2019, prosecutors say, Derek Chauvin kicked an intoxicated male in the midsection, then applied a neck restraint until he became unconscious. In June 2017, Chauvin restrained a female by placing his knee on her neck while she was on the ground, prosecutors said. Prosecutors also listed an August 2015 incident in which Chauvin saw other officers place a suicidal and intoxicated male into a side-recovery position after using a stun gun on him.
Prosecutors said in those cases and in two others, Chauvin held the restraints “beyond the point when such force was needed under the circumstances.”
The list of Chauvin’s arrests involving restraints was made public on the same day that Chauvin and three other former officers appeared in court for a hearing on the prosecution’s request to hold a joint trial.
George Floyd, died after Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck even as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death was captured on video that went viral and set off protests around the world. All the officers involved were fired. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and other crimes; Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting.
Chauvin appeared in court for the first time after attending previous hearings via videoconference from the state prison where he’s being held. He didn’t make eye contact with other defendants as he arrived.
The defense is now claiming that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose. As we reported back in May, the state medical examiner claimed that Floyd died from underlying health issues. The family was not accepting this report and asked for their own independent autopsy. The family lawyer says the only overside was “excessive force and racism”.
Prosecutors said in their filing that they intend to offer evidence of these incidents at trial because they anticipate Chauvin will claim he didn’t intentionally assault Floyd in a way that’s inconsistent with his training. Prosecutors plan to file a more detailed memorandum in the future.