Derek Chauvin headed back to court over violating a Black teen’s civil rights

Derek Chauvin headed back to court over violating a Black teen's civil rights
Four officers charged in the death of George Floyd (Clockwise: Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thou and Thomas Lane. (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriffs Department)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin may be serving his 22 ½ year sentence for murdering George Floyd but his legal woes are far from over. Chauvin pleaded not guilty on Sept. 16 to violating the civil rights of a 14-year-old teenager in a separate case that involved a restraint similar to the one used on Floyd where he put his knee on Floyd’s neck until he couldn’t breathe.

The rogue police officer was convicted earlier this year on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s 2020 death. He’s also charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s civil rights when he knelt on his neck for roughly 9 1/2 minutes, as Floyd was face down on the pavement, not resisting and pleading for air.

In his latest indictment, Chauvin is accused of using the illegal maneuver against a 14-year-old child in 2017. The charge also states he deprived the young Black male of his right to be free of unreasonable force when he held the teen by the throat, hit him in the head with a flashlight and placed his knee on the boy’s neck and upper back while he was prone, handcuffed and not resisting.

Chauvin’s hearing was held via video conference, given he is currently serving his bid in Minnesota’s Oak Park Heights prison. According to a police report obtained by The Associated Press from the 2017 encounter, Chauvin wrote that the teen resisted arrest and after the teen, whom he described as 6-foot-2 and about 240 pounds, was handcuffed, Chauvin “used body weight to pin” him to the floor. The boy was bleeding from the ear and needed two stitches.

The incident, as well as a few others, was also used in Chauvin’s murder trial, as prosecutors wanted to show he had a pattern of using neck or head upper body restraints dating back to 2014. Chauvin and three of his fellow officers who were also on site when Floyd’s murder occurred, were arraigned this week on civil rights violations in Floyd’s death. They all pleaded not guilty. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao have also been charged with failing to intervene and await their trial.

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