Derek Chauvin, murderer of George Floyd, sits in federal prison, where he’ll be for at least the better part of the next two decades. He belongs there, for obvious reasons that we don’t need to rehash in this space. He no longer has the badge, gun and impunity afforded violent cops like him, which he used to snuff out Floyd’s life.
But George Floyd wasn’t the only person Derek Chauvin hurt while he ran the streets of Minneapolis. Floyd may have been the only one he extinguished, but there were others he abused. Many of them still want their day in court, and now at least two of them could get it, since Chauvin no longer enjoys the qualified immunity that too often protects violent cops like he once was.
CNN reports that two Black Minneapolis residents, Zoya Code and John Pope, have filed civil lawsuits against Chauvin over his alleged abuse of them while in uniform in 2017, three years before he killed Chauvin. The lawsuits claim that Chauvin used the same knee-in-the-back maneuver on Code and Pope that he used to kill Floyd. They also name the city of Minneapolis as a defendant, claiming that its police department trained Chauvin and other cops in dangerous techniques and turned them loose on the public.
Both lawsuits say that “Chauvin was a serial predator who was never stopped by the City – a walking Monell violation – and who fully embraced the City’s training on dangerous restraint techniques.”
Monell is US Supreme Court ruling decided in 1978 that determined a city government can be held liable if a policy or custom results in a constitutional violation by an employee.
The US Department of Justice launched a federal civil investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis in April 2021.
Pope’s accusations are especially troubling. He was 14-years-old when Chauvin hit him multiple times with a flashlight and pinned him down with his knee, in the same manner Chauvin did Floyd, for 15 minutes, the lawsuit claims. Chauvin last year pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges stemming from that incident.