Officer accused of killing George Floyd was disciplined for pulling woman from car during stop

Erin B. Logan, Molly O'Toole
Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.  (Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

The Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday released personnel records for Derek Chauvin, the now-fired officer accused of killing George Floyd, a black man whose death has sparked protest nationwide.

The records provide some insight into Chauvin's background, starting as a military police officer with the U.S. Army from September 1996 to February 1997 and again from September 1999 to May 2000.

However, the records included little detail about the at least 17 times that Chauvin was the subject of internal affairs investigations by the Minneapolis department.

Chauvin, who had worked with the department since October 2001, had been disciplined for only one incident during his tenure. It occurred in August 2007 in Longfellow, a neighborhood just south of downtown Minneapolis. Chauvin was accused of pulling a woman out of her car after stopping her for going 10 miles over the speed limit. The woman filed the complaint the next day.

Investigators found that Chauvin "did not have to remove complainant from car" and that he "could've conducted interview outside the vehicle." Further investigation showed that Chauvin's squad car video camera was turned off during the course of the stop.

Chauvin received a letter of reprimand for the incident, the details of which were redacted.

Chauvin last week was fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in George's death. Chauvin is being held at a state prison.

Reports indicate Chauvin was previously involved in multiple shootings. In 2006, he shot and killed a suspect who allegedly had a gun. In 2008, he shot a domestic assault suspect, and in 2011, he fired at a man seen running from another shooting.

The other officers at the scene when Floyd died — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng — are being investigated for their roles. Chauvin and the other officers could not be reached for comment.

Thao, Kueng, Lane and Chauvin did not respond requests for comment before print deadlines.

According to internal records, Thao has been investigated at least six times by the department. None of those investigations resulted in discipline, records show. One case is pending.

On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state's Department of Human Rights will investigate the Minneapolis Police Department and filed a "civil rights charge related to the death of George Floyd.“

In the past few days, additional reports have surfaced of police violence against black people. Louisville restaurant owner David McAtee was shot by police and National Guard troops responding to gunfire on Monday. In Atlanta, six officers were charged with excessive force after a video of their confrontation with two college students went viral.

An independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family found he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression, contradicting the county's official report.

Protests have occurred throughout California. In Los Angeles, officers with the LAPD's Hollywood Division took at least 585 people into custody on Monday alone.

In Washington, peaceful protests descended into chaos after federal law enforcement fired tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bang grenades at demonstrators to clear a pathway for President Trump to walk to a nearby Episcopal church and pose for a photo-op holding a Bible. The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington called the events “an outrage.”