Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty this week on three murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd, may face additional charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 ½ minutes in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Now the DOJ, according to ABC News, is considering bringing charges against Chauvin for a 2017 incident involving a Black teenager whom Chauvin subdued in a similar method as Floyd.
Two months ago, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported federal prosecutors in Minneapolis brought witnesses before a federal grand jury to provide testimony related to the incident. Videos from the Sept. 4, 2017, incident allegedly showed Chauvin striking a Black teenager in the head so hard the boy needed stitches, then allegedly holding the boy down with his knee for nearly 17 minutes, and allegedly ignoring complaints from the boy that he couldn’t breathe.
“Those videos show a far more violent and forceful treatment of this child than Chauvin describes in his report” of the incident, one of the state prosecutors, Matthew Frank, wrote in a court filing at the time.
ABC, quoting an anonymous source, said the investigation is ongoing.
Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a sweeping federal investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis after Chauvin’s conviction. The Justice Department was already investigating whether Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd’s death violated his civil rights.
Months before the start of Chauvin’s trial, state prosecutors wanted to describe the 2017 incident to the jury to show a pattern in Chauvin’s conduct, but the judge presiding over the case refused to let prosecutors bring it up.
In court documents filed before the judge’s ruling, Frank said videos of the incident captured by body-worn cameras “show Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force towards this child and complete disdain for his well-being.”
According to Frank’s account, Chauvin and another Minneapolis police officer were dispatched to a home where a woman claimed she had been attacked by her 14-year-old son and young daughter.
After officers entered the home and spoke to the woman, they ordered the son to lie on the ground, but he refused. Chauvin then allegedly hit the teenager with his flashlight, grabbed the teenager’s throat, hit him again with the flashlight and then “applied a neck restraint, causing the child to lose consciousness and go to the ground,” according to Frank.
“Chauvin and [the other officer] placed [the teenager] in the prone position and handcuffed him behind his back while the teenager’s mother pleaded with them not to kill her son and told her son to stop resisting,” Frank wrote. “About a minute after going to the ground, the child began repeatedly telling the officers that he could not breathe, and his mother told Chauvin to take his knee off her son.”
About eight minutes in, Chauvin moved his knee to the teenager’s upper back and left it there for nine more minutes, according to Frank. Eventually, Chauvin told the teenager he was under arrest for domestic assault and obstruction with force.