Prosecutors Say Derek Chauvin Used Unreasonable Force 4 Times Before George Floyd's Death

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin used unreasonable force four times prior to George Floyd's death in 2020, including an encounter with a teenager in 2017, prosecutors said.

In court filings in the case alleging Chauvin violated the civil rights of the teenager, prosecutors said that Chauvin used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times prior to Floyd's death, dating to 2014, the Associated Press reported.

That included the four incidents in which prosecutors said Chauvin went "beyond the point when such force was needed under the circumstances."

The indictment against Chauvin alleges that he deprived a then-14-year-old boy of his right to be free of unreasonable force when Chauvin held the teenager by the throat, hit him in the head with a flashlight and held a knee on the boy's neck and upper back while he was prone, handcuffed and not resisting.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

George Floyd Memorial
Prosecutors said former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin used unreasonable force four times before George Floyd's death. Above, a photo of George Floyd (center) is displayed along with other photographs at the Say Their Names memorial exhibit at Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade on July 20, 2021, in San Diego, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Chauvin 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 was sentenced to 22 1/2 years. He's also charged in federal court with violating Floyd's civil rights when he knelt on the Black man's neck as Floyd was facedown on the pavement, not resisting and pleading for air.

When U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer asked how he would plea to the charge involving the teenager, Chauvin clearly replied, "Not guilty, your honor."

Thursday's hearing was held via videoconference, and Chauvin appeared from the state's maximum security prison, where he's being held following his murder conviction. He was in a large room, and wearing a plain T-shirt as he sat at the head of a long table. No one was visible in the room with him, but a man was seen behind a window pane over Chauvin's shoulder. He had some paper on the table in front of him and appeared to take notes.

According to a police report from that 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.

Chauvin and three other former officers—Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao—were arraigned on civil rights violations in Floyd's death on Tuesday. All four pleaded not guilty to those charges. The indictment in the 2017 case was filed the same day as the one for Floyd's death.

According to the indictment in Floyd's death, the officers allegedly deprived Floyd of his rights while acting under government authority. The federal indictment alleges Chauvin violated Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and from unreasonable force by a police officer.

Thao and Kueng are charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure by not intervening to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd's neck.

All four officers are charged with depriving Floyd of his rights when they failed to provide medical care.

Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe as Chauvin pinned him to the ground. Kueng and Lane helped restrain Floyd; Kueng knelt on Floyd's back, and Lane held Floyd's legs, according to evidence in state court. Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening.

Derek Chauvin
Prosecutors said former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin used unreasonable force four times before George Floyd's death. Above, in this April 15, 2021, file image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson (left) and Chauvin address Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Court TV via AP, Pool File