Minneapolis, MN – Federal prosecutors are considering whether to bring charges against incarcerated former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in connection the death of George Floyd and for an arrest he made of a teenager in 2017.
Prosecutors were preparing for Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 when they were sent a series of bodycam videos from an earlier arrest made by the same officer, ABC News reported.
The videos from a Sept. 4, 2017 arrest allegedly showed that a teenage boy Chauvin arrested after a physical confrontation had required stitches.
They also allegedly showed Chauvin holding the boy down with his knee for about 17 minutes and ignoring the teen’s complaints that he couldn’t breathe, according to ABC News.
Prosecutors tried to introduce bodycam video from the 2017 arrest into evidence in Chauvin’s trial.
That incident occurred when Minneapolis police officers, including Chauvin, responded to a 911 call from a woman who claimed her 14-year-old son and daughter had attacked her, ABC News reported.
Matthew Frank, one of the state prosecutors, wrote in a court filing that when officers arrived at the home, they ordered the son to lie on the ground.
Frank said the 14 year old refused and claimed Chauvin hit him on the head with a flashlight, causing a wound that required medical attention, ABC News reported.
The prosecutor also alleged the bodycam showed Chauvin grabbed the teenager by the throat, struck him with the flashlight a second time, and then “applied a neck restraint, causing the child to lose consciousness and go to the ground.”
He said the teen was bleeding from the ear, ABC News reported.
“Chauvin and [the other officer] placed [the teenager] in the prone position and handcuffed him behind his back while the teenager’s mother pleaded with them not to kill her son and told her son to stop resisting,” Frank wrote in the court filing. “About a minute after going to the ground, the child began repeatedly telling the officers that he could not breathe, and his mother told Chauvin to take his knee off her son.”
The prosecutor said Chauvin moved his knee from the boy’s neck to his upper back after eight minutes and kept it there for another nine minutes, ABC News reported.
Chauvin eventually arrested the boy for domestic assault and obstruction with force and the teen was taken to the hospital by ambulance for stitches.
The state claimed Chauvin’s action with the teen mirrored his behavior with Floyd and told the judge they wanted to show jurors a pattern of conduct by the former police officer, ABC News reported.
“Those videos show a far more violent and forceful treatment of this child than Chauvin describes in his report,” Frank wrote.
He also said the bodycam would “show Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force towards this child and complete disdain for his well-being.”
But Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill didn’t allow it and the incident was never mentioned at trial, although it resurfaced in the media during that time, ABC News reported.
Now federal prosecutors have indicated the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) may bring charges against Chauvin in connection with the 2017 incident.
Federal prosecutors initiated a federal grand jury investigation in February and had witnesses testify about what happened in September of 2017.
Sources told ABC News that the DOJ investigation was ongoing and prosecutors were trying to decide whether to bring civil rights charges against Chauvin in connection with Floyd’s death and for the 2017 arrest.
Minneapolis police officials were briefed about the investigation into the other incident just before federal officials announced a sweeping investigation of the policies and practices of the entire Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) a day after Chauvin was convicted of murder.
“We will assist the DOJ with anything that they need, and the chief has pledged full cooperation with any investigating agency,” MPD Spokesman John Elder said with regard to all of the ongoing investigations.