The hits just don’t stop coming for ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Now that he’s been convicted of murdering George Floyd, the Department of Justice is considering the possibility of charging him in connection to a 2017 incident where the man who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes also allegedly knelt on a Black teenager for a whopping 17 minutes.
ABC News reports that when prosecutors were preparing for the case that would bring Chauvin to justice, they received several videos of the incident with the Black teen and said they were shocked by what they saw. Of course, this evidence wasn’t allowed at trial because the defense successfully argued that jurors should be barred from hearing about Chauvin’s history of neck and body restraints on suspects. (Which is wild considering the fact that defense attorneys also argued that Floyd’s past arrests should be admissible and some of that “evidence” was allowed in.)
The videos, from Sept. 4, 2017, allegedly showed Chauvin striking a Black teenager in the head so hard that the boy needed stitches, then allegedly holding the boy down with his knee for nearly 17 minutes, and allegedly ignoring complaints from the boy that he couldn’t 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 at the time.
Chauvin was never charged for the incident, but earlier this year, federal prosecutors in Minneapolis brought witnesses before a federal grand jury to provide testimony regarding the altercation. A source reportedly told ABC that the DOJ is still investigating what happened to the teen and is deciding whether or not charges against Chauvin for that incident as well as Floyd’s death are warranted.
The incident involving the Black teen reportedly began when his mother called the police accusing her son and daughter of attacking her. Chauvin and another officer arrived at the woman’s home and, apparently, all hell broke loose after the teen refused to follow their instructions.
Here’s what Frank said happened as reported by ABC:
After officers entered the home and spoke to the woman, they ordered the son to lie on the ground, but he refused. Within seconds, Chauvin hit the teenager with his 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,” according to Frank’s account of the videos, detailed in a filing seeking permission to raise the incident during trial.
“Chauvin and [the other officer] placed [the teenager] in the prone position and handcuffed him behind his back while the teenager’s mother pleaded with them not to kill her son and told her son to stop resisting,” Frank wrote, noting that at one point the teenager’s ear began bleeding. “About a minute after going to the ground, the child began repeatedly telling the officers that he could not breathe, and his mother told Chauvin to take his knee off her son.”
About eight minutes in, Chauvin moved his knee to the teenager’s upper back and left it there for nine more minutes, according to Frank.
Eventually, Chauvin told the teenager he was under arrest for domestic assault and obstruction with force. The two officers then helped the teenager to an ambulance, which took him to a hospital to receive stitches, Frank wrote.
For Black people, calling the police for any reason often turns into s “double-edged sword” situation. On one hand, we need protection from crime just like anyone else does; on the other hand, we just have no way of knowing whether or not calling the police will make things worse—and far too often, it does.
Floyd would be alive today if legal officials saw to it that a cop who would beat on a 14-year-old “within seconds” of him refusing to lie on the ground and then kneel on him for the better part of 20 minutes would no longer be policing the streets of Minneapolis.
Anyone who is still arguing that Chauvin doesn’t belong in prison has basically decided that cops simply can’t be criminals. And if the 2017 incident doesn’t dispel that notion, nothing will. This is why we continue to fight.