by Fred Lucas
The veteran Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of a man in his custody had 18 previous complaints of misconduct against him, according to news reports.
Only two of the old complaints against Derek Chauvin resulted in disciplinary actions, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Chauvin, 44, who is seen with a knee pressed to the neck of a handcuffed and prostrate George Floyd in a video recording, was arrested and charged Friday in Floyd’s death after three days of unrest in Minneapolis.
Three of the complaints against Chauvin had to do with police-involved shootings, none of which resulted in discipline during his 19-year career, Fox News reported.
The Daily Signal sought comment Friday evening from Minneapolis lawyer Thomas Kelly, identified by The Wall Street Journal as representing Chauvin. Kelly had not responded as of publication.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday that the county had arrested and charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death Monday evening of Floyd, 46.
The video shows Chauvin pressing a knee into Floyd’s neck after the handcuffed man begs him to stop, says he can’t breathe, and eventually appears to lose consciousness. The incident is racially charged because Chauvin is white and Floyd was black.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he had spoken to members of Floyd’s family, whom he called “terrific people,” and had asked the Justice Department to investigate.
“I’ve asked that the Department of Justice expedite the federal investigation into his death and do it immediately. Do it as quickly as absolutely possible,” Trump said, adding:
It’s a local situation, but we are also making it into a federal situation. It’s a terrible thing. We all saw what we saw. It’s very hard to even conceive of anything other than what we did see. It should never be allowed to happen, a thing like that. But we’re determined that justice be served.
Chauvin had been on the police force since 2001, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Another Minneapolis police officer involved in Floyd’s death, Tou Thao, had six complaints against him filed with the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Thao had been on the police force since 2012, according to the Star Tribune.
Police records reportedly show that five of the six complaints against Thao were closed and one is still open. Thao reportedly settled out of court in 2017 in a case alleging excessive use of force.
Two other Minneapolis police officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, were with Chauvin and Thao when the incident occurred beside a police cruiser and was recorded on smartphones.
Neither Lane nor Kueng apparently had any reported complaints against them.
The four officers were in the process of arresting Floyd for fraud Monday evening, police said.
On Tuesday, the Minneapolis Police Department fired all four.
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Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.”