Minneapolis, MN – One of the security guards tasked with chauffeuring former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s defense team to the courthouse during his trial gave a long interview about how he’d kept “the most hated man in the world at that time” safe and prepared for assassination attempts during his trial.
But it turned out that 45-year-old self-proclaimed bodyguard Scott Yelle’s tale was almost entirely made up.
Yelle told Inside Edition a long and detailed story about how his team had kept Chauvin safe using a fleet of armored SUVs, prepared secret safe houses for an emergency, and even prohibited the former police officer from eating food provided by court officials, lest it be poisoned.
“We wanted everybody to make sure they didn’t do anything that they would regret, so we just eliminated the lunches altogether and started bringing them in,” Yelle explained.
Yelle, who claimed to have 20 years of personal protection experience, said Chauvin would wear disguises so he could go shopping and on other outings with his bodyguard when he got stir-crazy.
He told Inside Edition that he had spent a lot of time alone with Chauvin during the 44-day trial and the former officer had even expressed regret for what happened to George Floyd.
“I said, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ And he said, ‘You can take me back a year,’” Yelle recalled.
Attorneys have said those statements could be used against Chauvin during his upcoming federal trial, KMSP reported.
Yelle described the former police officer to Inside Edition as “shy” and almost obsessive-compulsive about the way his security was handled.
“He was very, very methodical in everything he did,” Yelle said. “It was getting out of the vehicle the same way. If it was us opening the door. It was just always had to be the same way without fail no exception.”
He showed Inside Edition body armor and a bag of supplies that included pepper spray and gas masks that he claimed was in each SUV in his fleet and bragged about having provided protection “to a lot of people you would know.”
Inside Edition produced a featured segment about the “cloak and dagger” operation Yelle had run to protect Chauvin that aired on Sept. 13.
“The man leading this military-style operation is a mysterious figure and wants to stay that way,” the reporter described Yelle.
During the interview with Inside Edition, the self-proclaimed bodyguard would not confirm whether he had been a member of a federal or local law enforcement or his credentials to provide security to high-risk targets.
“The less people know about me, the better,” Yelle said mysteriously.
But it turns out that there’s plenty of publicly-available information about him that Inside Edition should have found before they broadcast the interview.
KMSP reported that problems with Yelle’s company – P1 Protection Services – arose even before the trial began.
Questions were raised about the Rockford-based, self-labeled “global threat mitigation” firm’s qualifications and licensure.
The company website claimed “P1 Protection was the lead security team and ONLY credentialed private firm approved to operate within the secured area of the Hennepin County Government Center during State of MN vs. Derek Chauvin trial,” KMSP reported.
But that was a lie, and the website has since been taken down.
It turns out that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) notified Chauvin’s defense team about Yelle’s lack of licensure ahead of the trial.
He did participate as part of Chauvin’s defense team’s security detail but only as a chauffeur working as an employee of another security company called Recon Protection, KMSP reported.
“Scott’s only role was taking care of Eric Nelson, driving him to and from the courthouse,” Michael Friedrichs, owner of Recon Protection, said. “He did nothing to protect Chauvin or oversee the operation.”
Friedrichs said Yelle had been on his payroll through the trial as a sales, marketing, and security consultant, but had never been alone with Chauvin, KMSP reported.
He also said Yelle’s claims of having had intelligence about a planned assassination attempt on Chauvin were untrue and that never happened.
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) Executive Director Brian Peters told Insider that Yelle had actually been assigned to drop defense attorney Eric Nelson and his paralegal off at court and wait to take them home afterwards.
“I’ll just say that Scott Yelle never spent one minute with Derek Chauvin,” Peters said.
MPPOA was the entity that initially hired Yelle’s company to provide security and said he represented that he was licensed by the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services, KMSP reported.
Peters said Yelle’s story about the fleet of bullet-proof SUVs were false and that the actual vehicles that transported Chauvin and his defense team were rented from Avis and changed regularly so they would not be recognized.
He said MPPOA notified Yelle that he was in violation of his non-disclosure agreement after they saw him posting about the Chauvin trial on his personal Facebook page four months ago, Insider reported.
Peters said Yelle lied about having the correct license to carry a firearm and transport protectees, and said they had to find a licensed company to affiliate him with at the last minute.
“He misrepresented his license,” he said. “I had to take it upon myself to find the company that would allow us to use their license. It was an indication that we started to see the non-truths from Scott.”
Peters told Insider he thought Yelle was paid for the interview with Inside Edition.
It also turned out that Yelle has a criminal record, KMSP reported.
He pleaded guilty to the gross misdemeanor of theft-by-swindle in October of 2017 after he sold digital marketing packages but never delivered on the promises in his advertisements to clients.
A spokesperson for Inside Edition said, “we stand by our story,” Insider reported.