Cop who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis had record of brutality

By Kristina Betinis
29 May 2020

Derek Chauvin, the 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department who killed George Floyd, had a long record of abuse, including three shooting incidents, about 20 complaints and two letters of reprimand.

Local station KARE 11 reports 13 complaints since 2003 were closed without discipline. Chauvin was awarded a departmental medal of valor in 2009.

The police murder in Minneapolis is part of an unending string of outrages that occur on a daily basis. Had a bystander not recorded Floyd’s assault and murder and shared the video, the actual circumstances of his death may not have ever come to light.

Derek Chauvin

Tou Thao, another police officer involved in the killing, has also been subject to excessive force complaints. Thao was the defendant in a lawsuit that alleged he beat a handcuffed citizen, and the city of Minneapolis paid out $25,000 to his victim.

After video of the murder was widely circulated, a victim of Chauvin in a 2008 incident came forward. Ira Toles, a 33-year old IT worker, told the Daily Beast that Chauvin was one of several officers who entered his home unannounced after the mother of his child called police to report that Toles assaulted her. He said that Chauvin broke into his bathroom and beat him before shooting him in the groin at point-blank range: “I collapsed in the main entrance where I was left to bleed until the paramedics came… He tried to kill me in that bathroom.”

In 2011, Chauvin was among a group of officers involved in the non-fatal shooting of Alaskan native Leroy Martinez. A witness to the police shooting, Delora Iceman, told the Star Tribune that Martinez had thrown down his gun and put his hands in the air when the officer, Terry Nutter, shot him in the abdomen after warning he would do so. Minneapolis found the shooting to be proper.

In October 2006, Chauvin was one of six cops who opened fire on 42-year-old Wayne Reyes, suspected of a stabbing, after Reyes’ reportedly pointed a shotgun at them. Reyes was shot multiple times and killed. A grand jury ruled use of force was justified, and the killing was not prosecuted by Hennepin county attorney Amy Klobuchar, the future Democratic Party presidential candidate.

Chauvin has retained Tom Kelly, the attorney who represented Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, was acquitted in the 2016 police murder of Philando Castile, whom he shot five times at close range while Castile sat in the passenger seat during a traffic stop.