Last week, Derek Chauvin was convicted of all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. His sentencing is set for June, 16th and he faces 40 years in prison. Now, the Department of Justice is considering charging Chauvin in connection for a 2017 incident involving striking a Black teenager.
Prosecutors received videos of the incident last year while preparing for Chauvin’s case regarding the killing of George Floyd. They wanted to use them in court in order to establish a history of Chauvin’s conduct, however, the judge presiding over the case did not allow for them to be shown in court.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, in February, federal prosecutors in Minneapolis brought witnesses before a federal grand jury to provide testimony related to the incident. As of last week, the investigation into the incident is still underway, with the DOJ determining whether to bring federal charges against Chauvin for both the 2017 incident and the killing of George Floyd.
The videos are from September 4, 2017, and show Chauvin strike a 14 year old Black teenager in the head so hard that he needed stitches afterward. Chauvin then proceeded to put his knee on the teenager for 17 minutes, ignoring the boy’s pleas that he could not breathe.
“Those videos show a far more violent and forceful treatment of this child than Chauvin describes in his report [of the incident],” Matthew Frank, one of the state prosecutors, wrote in a court filing. According to Frank, Chauvin and another officer were dispatched to a home where a mother claimed her 14-year-old son and young daughter were attacking her. Chauvin then ordered the son to get on the ground, but he refused. That’s when Chauvin hit the boy across the head with a 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.”
After a minute on being on the ground, the boy started telling the officers that he could not breathe, and even the mother told Chauvin to get his knee off of her son. After 8 minutes, Chauvin moved his knee to the top of the boy’s back, and left it there for about 9 more minutes.
Recently, officials at the Minneapolis Police Department were briefed on the federal government’s interest in the 2017 incident. This came before Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday that the Department of Justice would be launching an investigation into the Minneapolis police department to “determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional, unlawful policing.”