Derek Chauvin: Minneapolis cops knelt on an innocent man 3 weeks before George Floyd's death

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Derek Chauvin: Minneapolis cops knelt on an innocent man 3 weeks before George Floyd's death

The police officers involved in the death of George Floyd including Derek Chauvin knelt on an innocent man three weeks before Floyd was killed, a v

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The police officers involved in the death of George Floyd including Derek Chauvin knelt on an innocent man three weeks before Floyd was killed, a video has shown.

Chauvin, responding to a report of a woman being held hostage by an armed man, is seen in the video along with officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Luis Realivasquez, and forcefully detaining a black man named Adrian Drakeford.

Drakeford was walking out of the apartment building holding an object as the Minneapolis police officer were arriving, who without a word tackled him to the ground. They would later say they thought the object was a knife.

The man’s brother Lee Drakeford used his cellphone to record the incident on May 3, 2020, while Adrian’s girlfriend, Kamaria Layton, pleaded with officers to leave him alone, telling them they were making a mistake.

Minneapolis police officers - including Derek Chauvin - are seen forcibly detaining Adrian Drakeford

Minneapolis police officers - including Derek Chauvin - are seen forcibly detaining Adrian Drakeford

Chauvin, responding to a report of a woman being held hostage by an armed man, is seen in the video along with officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Luis Realivasquez, and forcefully detaining a black man named Adrian Drakeford on May 3, 2020

‘He didn’t do nothing!’ Layton can be heard telling the officers, as Chauvin – watching on calmly – is seen tapping an object against his leg while Kueng and Lane are putting Adrian in handcuffs.

Realivasquez, meanwhile, is seen threatening the crowd that has begun to gather with what looks like a can of pepper spray, ordering people to ‘back up’.

It later transpired that Drakeford was not the hostage taker, and that the 27-year-old had no connection to the incident other than the fact that he lived on the same floor from where the woman said she was being held.

What’s more, the police officers never found the 911 caller or determined whether she was still in danger, instead detaining Adrian and arresting another of his brothers named Terrance, who was also at the scene.

Adrian was released with no charges, while Terrance was charged with obstructing the legal process, which was later dropped after the Minneapolis City Attorney reviewed the case.

‘It’s not the style of policing you want to see any law enforcement practice,’ said Andrew Gordon, deputy director for community legal services at Minneapolis nonprofit Legal Rights Center, who represented Terrance, told the Star Tribune.

Derek Chauvin (pictured), the white Minneapolis cop accused of killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck during an arrest last spring, allegedly used similarly dangerous and suffocating force in confrontations with at least six other people

George Floyd

Derek Chauvin (left), the white Minneapolis cop accused of killing George Floyd (right) by kneeling on his neck during an arrest last spring, allegedly used similarly dangerous and suffocating force in confrontations with at least six other people

George Floyd's death proved to be the catalyst for mass protests around the country and the world, galvanising the Black Lives Matter movement that dominated news channels for large parts of 2020, and continue to this day. Pictured: Demonstrators walk along Pennsylvania Avenue as they protest the death of George Floyd, May 29, 2020

George Floyd’s death proved to be the catalyst for mass protests around the country and the world, galvanising the Black Lives Matter movement that dominated news channels for large parts of 2020, and continue to this day. Pictured: Demonstrators walk along Pennsylvania Avenue as they protest the death of George Floyd, May 29, 2020

‘Their interest is not necessarily about investigating a crime. … Their interest is to put these kids in their place.’ 

Kueng and Lane were both in their first few months working as officers on the police force, with the call-out being part of their field training.

The video obtained by the Star Tribune bears a striking resemblance to the events leading up to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.

Chauvin is facing charges of unintentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he pressed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a black man, for eight minutes during an arrest on May 25

Chauvin is facing charges of unintentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he pressed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a black man, for eight minutes during an arrest on May 25

As in the case of Floyd, the officers also ignored pleas from bystanders as he was aggressively detained, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes, leading to the 46-year-old father’s death.

Chauvin, Lane and Kueng were all suspended from the Minneapolis Police Department and are facing criminal charges over the death of Floyd. Since then, Chauvin’s history of aggressive encounters has come to light.

George Floyd’s death proved to be the catalyst for mass protests around the country and the world, galvanising the Black Lives Matter movement that dominated news channels for large parts of 2020, and continues to this day.  

Protests and riots occurred in cities all across the US, with Black Lives Matter protesters and police clashing on numerous occasions.

The video’s release comes after Chauvin’s past aggressive behaviour came to light when prosecutors – seeking to present details at his trial – released details from six other arrests where he allegedly used excessive force – holding them by their necks or kneeling on top of them. 

Three of those people, along with a fourth person who witnessed one of the arrests, shared their accounts with The Marshall Project in an article published Tuesday, describing how Chauvin pinned them down and restricted their breathing while they begged for relief. 

One of them was Zoya Code, whose experience with Chauvin in 2017 bears a disturbing resemblance to what happened with Floyd three years later. 

Like Floyd, Code said she was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Chauvin’s knee when he arrested her.  

‘He just stayed on my neck,’ she said. When he ignored her pleas for him to get off, Code said she got frustrated and challenged him to push harder. ‘He did. Just to shut me up,’ she said.

(L-R) ex-officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Kiernan Lane in their booking photos. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin -- charged with murdering African American man George Floyd, will begin as scheduled March 8

(L-R) ex-officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Kiernan Lane in their booking photos. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — charged with murdering African American man George Floyd, will begin as scheduled March 8

Last week a judge agreed to allow attorneys prosecuting Chauvin to introduce Code’s case as evidence of the officer’s pattern of using excessive force – but not the other five.

Chauvin’s attorneys have insisted that he used appropriate force in the encounter with Floyd, who had been accused of using a counterfeit bill at a convenience store.

Police records showed that Chauvin had been the subject of at least 22 complaints over the course of the course of his 19 years with the Minneapolis Police Department, from which he was fired after Floyd’s death. 

Only one of those complaints resulted in disciplinary action.   

Chauvin was never reprimanded for any of the six prior incidents brought forward by the prosecution, despite two of the people filing formal complaints. 

Four of the incidents involved people of color – two black, one Latino and one Native American – while the race of the other two people was not specified. 

All three of the people who spoke to The Marshall Project, which coordinated its article with the New York Times, had a history of brushes with law enforcement, but most stemmed from traffic violations and nonviolent offenses.  

Zoya Code – June 2017 

Code’s arrest took place on June 25, 2017, after her mother accused her of trying to choke her with an extension cord, according to a police report. Code denied the allegation, saying she merely grabbed the cord that her mother was swinging around during a fight at their home. 

Code briefly left the house and returned to find Chauvin and another officer who had responded to the mother’s call. 

In a court filing prosecutors wrote that Chauvin grabbed Code by the arm and told her she was under arrest. 

When Code pulled away, Chauvin pushed her to the ground and knelt on top of her before carrying her out of the house, according to prosecutors and body-camera footage.  

Once outside, Code was again pinned on the ground in handcuffs as Chauvin dug his knee into her back – ‘even though she was offering no physical resistance at all,’ prosecutors wrote. 

In an interview Code recalled pleading: ‘Don’t kill me.’

Chauvin responded by telling his partner to restrain Code’s ankles, even though she was still ‘not being physically aggressive’, prosecutors wrote. 

The partner complied, and Code remembered telling him: ‘You’re learning from an animal. That man’ – Chauvin – ‘that’s evilness right there.’ 

In a court filing responding to prosecutor’s account of Code’s arrest, Chauvin’s lawyer said he acted properly while responding to ‘a violent crime in a volatile situation’. 

Code was initially charged with misdemeanor domestic assault and disorderly conduct, but those charges were ultimately dropped. 

Chauvin is seen in a court sketch from a hearing in the Floyd case last June

Chauvin is seen in a court sketch from a hearing in the Floyd case last June

Jimmy Bostic – April 2016 

A second case that prosecutors tried to enter as evidence of Chauvin’s excessive use of force involved Jimmy Bostic, who said he ended up in the hospital after his encounter with the cop in April 2016. 

Bostic was waiting for a ride outside of the Midtown Global Market when private security guards approached him to leave, after another shop owner accused him of panhandling. 

An argument ensued and Chauvin was dispatched to the scene, according to an arrest report. 

Chauvin escorted Bostic out of the store and the security guards were attempting to put him in handcuffs when he yanked his arms away. 

In the report, Chauvin wrote: ‘I closed distance with [Bostic] and secured his neck/head area with my hands.’ 

But as Bostic remembers it, Chauvin choked him.  

‘The next thing I felt was arms just wrapped around my neck,’ Bostic said. 

‘I started telling him, “Let go, I’m having trouble breathing. I have asthma. I can’t breathe.”‘

‘I can’t breathe’ is the same phrase Floyd repeated over and over while being pinned by Chauvin until he died. 

‘Looking back on Mr Floyd, that could have been me,’ Bostic told The Marshall Project. ‘And I would no longer be alive right now to even tell my story.’

Bostic said he was released from police custody at the scene and was transported to a hospital, where he stayed for a day while suffering from an asthma attack. 

He was charged with disorderly conduct, but that charge was later dropped.   

Julian Hernandez – February 2015 

The earliest case that prosecutors tried to enter as evidence of Chauvin’s excessive use of force took place in February 2015, when Julian Hernandez was arrested at the El Nuevo Rodeo night club, where Chauvin worked as an off-duty security officer. 

Hernandez, a carpenter who had traveled to Minneapolis to see a band perform at the club, told The Marshall Project the ordeal began when Chauvin confronted him for trying to leave through the wrong door. 

He said that Chauvin then escorted him down a stairwell, and he felt like the officer was physically trying to push him down. 

‘Things escalated’ when they got outside, Hernandez said, and Chauvin grabbed him by the throat to pin him against a wall. 

Hernandez recalled Chauvin telling him: ‘You just need to leave,’ and thinking to himself: ‘I’m trying to leave and you won’t let me. You’re choking me.’ 

Hernandez was charged with disorderly conduct but reached an agreement with the court to avoid punishment by staying out of trouble for the next year.  

As with Code’s case, Chauvin’s lawyer insisted in a court filing that the officer did nothing wrong in the arrest of Hernandez, who the lawyer described as ‘resistant and aggressive’.  

A second case that prosecutors tried to enter as evidence of Chauvin's excessive use of force took place in February 2015, when Julian Hernandez was arrested at the El Nuevo Rodeo night club (pictured), where Chauvin worked as an off-duty security officer

A second case that prosecutors tried to enter as evidence of Chauvin’s excessive use of force took place in February 2015, when Julian Hernandez was arrested at the El Nuevo Rodeo night club (pictured), where Chauvin worked as an off-duty security officer

Sir Rilee Peet – March 2019

Sir Rilee Peet was arrested by Chauvin in March 2019, after a man called police about seeing his grandson’s stolen car at a gas station and Peet just happened to be nearby. 

The caller, 74-year-old Monroe Skinaway, described the ordeal to The Marshall Project. 

He said he was answering questions about the car when Peet walked by and asked the officers for a ride. Skinaway said Peet, then 26, seemed ‘off’ and followed one of the officers to his squad car. 

The officer asked Peet to take his hands out of his pockets, he refused, and a scuffle ensued, according to a police report. 

Chauvin intervened, spraying Peet with mace, restraining him by the neck and pinning him to the ground by kneeling on his lower back, prosecutors said. 

Skinaway recalled seeing Peet’s face pressed into a rain puddle for two to three minutes as he pleaded: ‘I can’t breathe — can I just put my head up?’

‘They just held his face in the water, and I couldn’t see a purpose for that,’ Skinaway said. 

He said when Peet tried to turn his head out of the water, the officer grabbed him by the hair and pushed his face back into the puddle.     

Peet, who had a history of court-ordered treatment for mental illness, was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of the legal process and disorderly conduct. 

In court filings, Chauvin’s lawyer said that the officer acted appropriately in Peet’s arrest, saying that the suspect had created concern for the officers’ safety.  

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