Derek Chauvin is one of the four ex-Minneapolis cops and the main accused who is facing the trial in George Floyd‘s killing. George Floyd was an African-American from Houston’s Third Ward who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, 2020, an incident that sparked nationwide outrage, which led to four police officers’ firing, including Chauvin who is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. In a viral video, Derek Chauvin was seen pressing Floyd’s neck under his knee for a few minutes until Floyd went unconscious, leading to his death. Floyd’s death attracted massive protests in over 100 cities in the United States and worldwide.
Derek Michael Chauvin was born on Friday, March 19, 1976 (age 45 years; as of 2021) in Oakdale, Minnesota, United States. While growing up in the St. Paul area, Chauvin attended Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Chauvin didn’t graduate, but he obtained a High School Equivalency Certificate. Later, he attended several community colleges and Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. In 2006, he earned a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Minnesota’s Metropolitan State University. Business Insider Chauvin studied food preparation at a technical college, and he also took classes like ‘pantry food preparation,’ ‘job-seeking after skills,’ and ‘stocks, sauces, and soups.’ Thereafter, Chauvin worked at Tinucci’s Restaurant where he made ribs and chicken. He also worked as a cook at McDonald’s. The New York Times Later, he worked as a security guard at the Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo where George Floyd was also employed as a security guard.
Family & Ethnicity
Derek Chauvin comes from a white American family. On June 12, 2010, he got married to a Laotian immigrant, Kellie, in Washington County. Star Tribune Kellie has two children from a previous marriage. Business Insider
Kellie is considered the first Hmong winner of the Mrs. Minnesota pageant. MPR News
Before joining the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin served the US Army. From 1996 to 2000, he served the US Army as a military police officer and was stationed in Rochester, Minnesota, and Hohenfels in Germany. Insider In 2001, the 25-year-old Derek Chauvin joined the Minneapolis Police Department where he served for 19 years until he was fired after George Floyd‘s killing.
The Killing of George Floyd
Derek Chauvin was the senior-most of the four Minneapolis cops who had arrested George Floyd on the evening of May 25, 2020, at around 8:08-8:28 pm. They had mistaken him as someone who tried to transact a counterfeit $20 bill at a store in Minneapolis to buy cigarettes. Later, a video of George Floyd’s arrest went viral on social media in which George was seen handcuffed, and Derek Chauvin was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck while Floyd complaining he couldn’t breathe. According to sources, Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Reportedly, officer Chauvin, along with other cops, approached Floyd after they had received a call from a grocery store that claimed Floyd had used a forged check. According to sources, when Floyd resisted arrest, they pinned him to the ground after dragging him from his car. The Sun
Arrest & Charges
The four officers (Derek Michael Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng) involved in George Floyd‘s alleged arrest and encounter were placed on leave on May 26, 2020. Later, on the same day, they were fired, and an announcement was made by the FBI to review the incident.
The United States Department of Justice and the FBI in a joint statement on May 28, 2020, said,
A comprehensive investigation will compile all available information and thoroughly evaluate evidence and information obtained from witnesses … If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought.”
Following the death of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29, 2020, and with this, he became the first white officer in Minnesota to be charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Later, the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin was elevated to second-degree. NBC News All four cops (Derek Michael Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng), who were involved in George Floyd’s fatal encounter, appeared in court on June 29, 2020.
Later, the next hearing in the case was set for September 11, 2020, by Judge Peter A. Cahill of Hennepin County District Court, the judge also fixed a trial date of March 8, 2021. People After a few months, except for Derek Chauvin, who remained lodged in jail, all the other ex-Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s fatal encounter were released from jail on bail. The bail set for Derek Chavin was $1.25 million. People Later, Chauvin was also granted bail. On April 20, 2021, a 12-member jury found Chauvin guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter; the jury gave its verdict after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including police officials, medical experts, and bystanders.
While speaking on the verdict in televised remarks, President Joe Biden said,
It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism. This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
The verdict was cheered by a huge crowd of protesters present outside the courthouse. At a news conference, George Floyd’s brother Philonise said,
We are able to breathe again.”
On June 25, 2021, a Minneapolis court sentenced him to 22 and half years in prison. CNN Judge Peter Cahill, in a 22-page memorandum that he wrote, said that the sentence was not based on emotion or public opinion. He wrote –
Chauvin “abused his position of trust or authority” and treated Floyd with “particular cruelty.” Chauvin treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings.”
The sentence was a first in Minneapolis history as earlier, the maximum range of sentencing in Minneapolis was of 10 years and eight months. According to Sarah Fitzgerald, Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson, Chauvin will be kept in a restricted housing unit at the Minnesota Correctional Facility- Oak Park Heights.
Divorce Petition By His Wife
Soon after his arrest, his wife Kellie filed a divorce petition against him; after almost 10 years of their marriage. Three days after his arrest, they separated. The New York Times According to sources, Kellie also desired to change her last name. Insider While talking to a local paper, Kellie praised Derek and said,
Under all that uniform, he’s just a softie. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.” Insider
Kellie filed a divorce petition in Washington County District Court on May 31, 2020. In her petition, Kellie also asked for the couple’s two homes. While talking about Kellie’s divorce petition, Jack De Walt, an 18-year family law attorney, said,
Homes are only one part of a marital estate, and without understanding what the other person is being awarded outside of the homes, [the divorce petition] is not actually telling you whether this person is asking for more than 50 percent.” Star Tribune
Reportedly, at the time of filing the divorce petition, Kellie was unemployed. Earlier, she worked as a realtor. In her petition, Kellie requested a “fair and equitable division” of personal property, vehicles; and all bank, retirement, and investment accounts; however, she neither sought nor offered alimony payments. Kellie also demanded the sole ownership of their home in Oakdale and a townhouse in Windermere, Fla. They bought the Florida townhouse for $210,900 (present value – $226,282) in 2011. In 2017, they bought Oakdale house for $260,000, which (now valued at $273,800). Star Tribune
- His career as a Minneapolis cop is filled with allegations of misconduct and excessive force. Over his 19-year police career, almost eighteen complaints were registered against him in Minneapolis. Insider
- In August 2007, a complaint was filed against Derek Chauvin by a Minneapolis woman named Melissa Borton who alleged that she was inappropriately stopped by Chauvin and another officer when she returning home from a grocery store with her infant. In her complaint, Borton said that Chauvin and another officer approached her car, reached inside “without a word,” unlocked her door, pulled her out, and put her in the back of a police cruiser. Reportedly, they stopped her for driving 10 miles over the speed limit. Insider
- During his incarceration, allegations were made against the jail authorities by eight correctional officers of color working for giving special treatment to Chauvin. The correctional officers claimed that a white lieutenant was helping Chauvin as they spotted her sitting on Chauvin’s bed in the prison and allowing Chauvin to use her cell phone. NPR
- After George Floyd‘s death, Derek Chauvin is often referred to as the most hated man in the world. The New York Times
- According to Floyd’s family attorney, Benjamin Crump, Chauvin and Floyd crossed paths at a Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo where both worked together as security guards; however, in an interview, Maya Santamaria, the owner of the nightclub, said that she wasn’t sure they ever met. Business Insider
- In an interview, Maya Santamaria, the owner of the Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo, while describing the demeanor of Derek Chauvin, who had worked as a security guard at the nightclub, said that during special events for Black communities, Chauvin’s attitude would change. She also said that once she had reprimanded Chauvin for using pepper spray on patrons. Insider
- For his involvement in the fatal police shooting of Wayne Reyes, he was recommended for a Medal of Valor in 2006. Insider
- In 2008, Chauvin disarmed a man during one of his nightclub security shifts, and he awarded a Medal of Commendation for this. Insider
- In 2008 and 2013, two women commended Derek Chauvin for handling domestic violence calls. Insider
- After his arrest in George Floyd‘s killing, Derek Chauvin became the first white officer in Minnesota to get arrested on charges of a black civilian’s death. Vox
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