According to ABC News, the Justice Department is weighing charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was recently convicted for the murder of George Floyd, for a 2017 incident in which he brutally attacked a Black teenage boy.
The incident was brought to the attention of Minnesota state prosecutors as they prepared for Chauvin’s murder trial when “they received a series of videos depicting Chauvin’s handling of another case three years earlier that by their own description shocked them.”
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, one of the state prosecutors, Matthew Frank, wrote in a court filing at the time.
Now, the U.S. Justice Department may do something that state prosecutors never did: charge Chauvin for the 2017 incident.
Two months ago, federal prosecutors in Minneapolis brought witnesses before a federal grand jury to provide testimony related to the incident, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported at the time. And this week, a source informed of the probe told ABC News that the investigation is still underway, with the Justice Department still weighing whether to bring federal charges against Chauvin for both the 2017 incident and George Floyd’s death.
Frank described the incident, which occurred after “Chauvin and another Minneapolis police officer were dispatched to a home where a woman claimed she had been attacked by her 14-year-old son and young daughter,” ABC News reported.
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.
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