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2 Lawsuits Filed Against Convicted Ex-MPD Officer Derek Chauvin, Alleging Excessive Force In 2017

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two lawsuits have been filed against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, accusing him of using excessive force in 2017.

Chauvin is currently serving a prison sentence of over 20 years for murdering George Floyd during an arrest in May 2020.

Now, two lawsuits, which were filed Tuesday, allege that Chauvin used excessive force three years before Floyd’s murder, including on one person who was 14 years old at the time. Seven additional MPD officers and the city of Minneapolis are also named in the lawsuit.

(credit: Minnesota Department of Corrections)

Both lawsuits say Chauvin “actively sought to prey on complaint Black arrestees,” including Floyd and the plaintiffs, identified in court documents as John Pope and Zoya Code.

According to the lawsuit, similar to the Floyd incident, Chauvin used his knee to restrain Pope and Code during their arrests, along with other excessive force.

John Pope Lawsuit
Zoya Code Lawsuit

Pope, who was 14 at the time of his arrest, said Chauvin struck him several times with a flashlight before restraining him. Chauvin then held Pope down in the prone position for 15 minutes, the lawsuit said.

In Code’s arrest, the lawsuit alleges that Chauvin used his knee on her neck, and remained there for 4 minutes and 41 seconds. Another officer at the scene failed to intervene and the incident was captured on police body cameras, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit further alleges that two sergeants with MPD later approved Chauvin’s use of force in these two incidents. Pope and Code’s lawyers argue that, as a result, Chauvin was able to continue his unchecked use of excessive force when he encountered Floyd in 2020.

The lawsuits are seeking monetary damages for the injuries suffered by Pope and Code “as a result of the gratuitous use of excessive force” by Chauvin.

Pope, Code and their lawyers are holding a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the lawsuit and Chauvin’s “racist policing and unchecked use of excessive force,” a press release said. Images from the body cameras are also expected to be shared.

Code’s arrest occurred on June 25, 2017 and Pope’s arrest occurred on Sept. 5, 2017.

In late April, Chauvin appealed his state conviction for murder in the killing of Floyd, arguing that jurors were intimidated by protests and prejudiced by pretrial publicity.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned the Black man to the ground with his knee on his neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds. Floyd had been accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. Three other fired officers face state trial this summer after being convicted in federal court earlier this year of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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