Minneapolis, MN – A Minnesota judge refused to approve a divorce settlement between former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and his wife, who filed for divorce just hours after her husband was charged with the murder of George Floyd.
Washington County District Judge Juanita Freeman did not address what she suspected was the motivation behind the attempt by former Officer Chauvin to transfer almost all of the couple’s assets to Kelli Chauvin, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
However, there has been much speculation in the media that Kelli Chauvin filed for divorce from the former Minneapolis police officer in order to protect the couple’s assets from lawsuits by Floyd’s family.
Floyd died on May 25 as former Officer Chauvin and three other officers were arresting him on a Minneapolis street.
Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.
The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.
Hours after her husband was charged with Floyd’s murder, Kelli Chauvin announced that she was going to file for divorce.
Attorneys from the Sekula law firm which represents the former Minneapolis police officer’s wife released a statement to the media the same day her husband was charged.
“This evening, I spoke with Kellie Chauvin and her family,” the statement began. “She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy. She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin.”
Kelli Chauvin officially filed for divorce on May 31, the Associated Press reported.
The judge wrote in her ruling that a judge can deny an uncontested divorce agreement when there is something fishy about it.
“The Court has a duty to ensure that marriage dissolution agreements are fair and equitable,” Freeman wrote. “One badge of fraud is a party’s transfer of ‘substantially all’ of his or her assets.”
She wrote that under the proposed divorce settlement, Kelli Chauvin would have gotten all the money in the couple’s bank and investment accounts and all of the money in the former officer’s retirement and pension accounts, the Associated Press.
Kelli Chauvin would also have gotten both of the homes that they owned together in the divorce, the judge pointed out in her ruling.
Speculation that the Chauvins filed for divorce to protect their assets is not unfounded because famed anti-police attorney Benjamin Crump has already said Floyd’s family would go after the officers involved in his death to set “a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people,” according to the Associated Press.
But divorce attorney Victoria Brenner said it could easily be argued that Kelli Chauvin needed more money than her husband given that he’s may end up spending many years in prison.
Kellie Chauvin, a former Mrs. Minnesota beauty queen, made her dramatic divorce announcement after several days of protests immediately after Floyd died in front of their family’s home in the Oakdale suburb of Minneapolis, the Daily Mail reported.
She married her then-police officer husband, who was a member of the Minneapolis police force for 19 years, in 2010.
Chauvin encountered his future wife, who worked at Hennepin County Medical Center, when he accompanied a suspect into her facility on duty, the Daily Mail reported.
He returned later to ask her out and the future-Mrs. Chauvin said yes.
Kellie Chauvin raved about how wonderful her husband was in interviews surrounding her successful bid for Mrs. Minnesota in 2018, the Daily Mail reported.
“Under all that uniform, he’s just a softie,” the officer’s wife told reporters. “He’s such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.”
Kellie Chauvin has two children from a previous marriage but the Chauvins had no children together, the Daily Mail reported.
Her family fled war in Laos in 1977 and went to a refugee camp in Thailand before immigrating to the United States in 1980 and settled in Wisconsin, according to The Washington Times.
She said her parents married her off to an older man she did not know when she was only 17, and it was an abusive relationship.
The still-young woman divorced her first husband after 10 years and moved to Minnesota where she eventually married then-Officer Chauvin, The Washington Times reported.