Derek Chauvin has been identified as the Minneapolis cop who kneeled on the neck of George Floyd as the 46-year-old pleaded multiple times, “I can’t breathe”. Floyd’s death resulted in the firing of Chauvin and three other officers involved from the Minneapolis Police Department. The incident, which was recorded on video, has sparked nationwide protests and calls from Floyd’s family that the officers involved be charged with murder.
According to NBC News, Chauvin has a notable history of being on leave for officer-involved shootings and he’s the subject of “a dozen police conduct complaints that resulted in no disciplinary action.” During his 19-year-career, Chauvin was praised for valor by his department, even after shooting a Black man back in 2008 who later survived the shooting.
Chauvin began his career with the Minneapolis Police Academy in October 2001. In 2008, Chauvin and another officer were called to a home for a domestic disturbance. According to the cops, Ira Latrell Toles, a 21-year-old Black suspect, was holed up in a bathroom trying to avoid Chauvin, however, Chauvin eventually got inside. Cops say that when Toles didn’t obey Chauvin’s order to get down, a struggle occurred and Toles grabbed at Chauvin’s gun.
Chauvin let off two shots from his gun, hitting Toles in the abdomen, according to the Pioneer Press newspaper of St. Paul. Toles was driven to the hospital where he survived. During an investigation of the incident, Chauvin and the other cop involved were placed on paid leave. According to NBC News, the police didn’t respond to a request for the findings from the investigation.
Earlier that year, Chauvin was awarded a department medal of valor for “his response in an incident involving a man armed with a gun” then he was recognized once again in 2009 by the police department.
In 2006, Chauvin was involved in another officer-involved shooting where an armed domestic violence suspect named Wayne Reyes was pursued in his truck. According to the police report, Wayne got out of his vehicle at one point with a shotgun, and “several officers fired multiple shots,” killing Reyes.
It’s not clear which officers fired their weapons, according to the initial investigation, and it’s unclear whether Reyes made any physical or verbal threats. However, all the cops involved, including Chauvin, were placed on paid leave during the investigation, but once again, there’s little info on the findings of the investigation.
In 2006, Chauvin was also named in an unrelated federal lawsuit filed by an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Lino Laks. Chauvin and seven other officers were accused of violating a prisoner’s federal constitutional rights. But again, further information was not immediately available. The case was dismissed without prejudice in 2007, according to records.
In addition to all this, Chauvin was at the center of complaints listed in the city’s Office of Police Conduct database, however, the details of those cases were closed and listed as “non-public.” Each incident resulted in no discipline.
Floyd’s family wants murder charges against Chauvin and three other officers after the Monday incident that resulted in Floyd’s death. The other officers involved include Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. Investigations are underway by state and federal authorities.
“I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did. They murdered my brother,” Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd emotionally told the “Today” show. “He was crying for help. I don’t need them to be suspended and able to work in another state or another county. Their license should be taken away, their job should be taken away, and they should be put in jail for murder.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday night, protestors demonstrated outside of Chauvin’s home in Oakdale, a suburb of Minneapolis.