On Tuesday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd was being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for allegedly committing forgery. Videos from a store’s surveillance camera and a witness’s cellphone captured the moments when Floyd was being taken into custody and physically restrained by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and three other officers.
Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” several times as he gasped for air. Floyd was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
However, Floyd was not the first minority suspect to face physical violence from Chauvin, according to published reports.
On October 27, 2006, Chauvin was on the scene during the shooting death of Wayne Reyes, a Latino man. After responding to an alleged stabbing, Chauvin and five other officers from the Minneapolis Police Department chased Reyes as he ran to his truck, according to WCCO.
In the police report, the officers claimed that Reyes was reaching for a weapon after he opened the truck’s door. But Reyes’ family disputed the notion that Reyes was reaching for a gun after viewing a video of the incident. The officers on the scene reportedly fired 42 rounds and 16 bullets hit Reyes. All of the officers who shot at Reyes eventually were cleared by a grand jury.
In 2008, Chauvin was involved in another shooting that involved a minority, according to the Minneapolis-based Star-Tribune. On May 26, 2008, Chauvin and another officer were responding to a domestic dispute when he shot an unarmed Black man, Ira Latrell Toles, 21. After forcing their way inside of Toles’ apartment, the officers attempted to subdue the suspect and claimed that Toles grabbed at one of their weapons. Chauvin shot Toles in the torso. After being placed on administrative leave, Chauvin returned to the force.
On Tuesday, May 26, Chauvin and the three other Minneapolis Police officers were fired after a video emerged of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for five minutes.
Although Chauvin has yet to be charged at press time, according to published reports, he has hired attorney Tom Kelly, who represented Jeronimo Yanez. A Minneapolis police officer, Yanez was acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile in 2017.