Prior to his arrest in the death of George Floyd, fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was the subject of 17 internal affairs investigations and faced departmental discipline for pulling a woman out of her car during a routine traffic stop, according to newly-released department records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
Chauvin, who joined the department in 2001, previously worked as a military police officer with the U.S. Army from September 1996 to February 1997 and again from September 1999 to May 2000. While Minneapolis PD records have few details about the 17 times Chauvin came under investigation before being fired for his role in Floyd's death in police custody, they did detail an August 2007 incident in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Longfellow.
After pulling over a woman accused of going 10 miles above the speed limit, Chauvin was accused of pulling the woman out of her car. The woman filed a complaint the next day, and internal investigators determined Chauvin "did not have to remove complainant from car" and that he "could’ve conducted interview outside the vehicle." Investigators also determined that Chauvin’s squad car video camera was turned off during the stop. While the officer did receive a letter of reprimand for his actions, the details of the letter were redacted in the released files.
Chauvin was also involved in a number of shootings during his tenure with the Minneapolis PD. In 2006, he shot and killed a suspect who allegedly had a gun, and two years later, he shot a domestic assault suspect. In 2011, he fired at a man seen running from the site of a shooting, all according to Communities United Against Police Brutality, a police watchdog nonprofit based in Minneapolis, reported in 2018.
The three other officers at the scene of Floyd's death — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng — are also under investigation, and Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump said on Tuesday's TODAY show that the family has been told that charges are expected for those three.
Tuesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the Minnesota Department of Human Rights will be investigating the Minneapolis Police Department, examining the practices and policies of the department over the past decade to determine if officers have systemically violated human and civil rights. Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said during Tuesday's news conference, "This is not about holding people personally criminally liable. This is about systems change."
Lucero said the investigation will not only provide immediate action recommendations for local leaders, but the longterm process will also allow for legal action to be brought against the department if deemed necessary. "This is not a report. This is something that will result in court action and require change," she explained.