2 New Lawsuits Allege Excessive Force, Discrimination By Derek Chauvin
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – Two new lawsuits were filed Tuesday against the City of Minneapolis for alleged cases of police brutality committed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin before he murdered George Floyd.
The lawsuits, filed on behalf of Minneapolis residents John Pope and Zoya Code, allege police misconduct, use of excessive force, and racial discrimination from incidents that occurred in 2017 in which Chauvin allegedly pinned the subjects to the ground using techniques similar to the one that would later kill Floyd, according to a news release sent by the law firm representing both plaintiffs.
The lawsuits also allege that Chauvin’s actions in both incidents were approved by MPD supervisors and that he did not face any discipline, which enabled him to continue his “unchecked use of excessive force” until he encountered Floyd in May 2020, according to the release.
The lawyers representing Pope and Code will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. to announce the lawsuits, after which they said they will release bodycam footage from one of the incidents, according to the release.
The news release further details the lawsuits in both incidents:
John Pope’s told story of his September 2017 encounter with Chauvin to Front Line and the Star Tribune. His case was also covered in the recent book “His Name is George Floyd.”
As the book explains, the police report from the incident says Pope was 14-years-old when his mother called police alleging he had assaulted her by grabbing her arms when she tried to unplug his phone charger. The mother told officers that her children “lacked discipline” and pointed officers toward Pope’s bedroom in what the authors describe as “an apparent attempt to scare them straight.”
Chauvin then entered Pope’s bedroom, where according to the news release announcing the lawsuit, Pope was lying face down on the floor and using his cell phone. Pope told Frontline that Chauvin came to his door and told him to get up and that he was under arrest. He says he asked Chauvin if he could explain his side of the story, but the officer ignored him, pinned him to the ground and repeatedly struck him with a flashlight.
Then he says, Chauvin pinned him to his back and placed his knee on the back of his neck. According to the news release, Chauvin pinned Pope to the ground for 15 minutes while Pope’s hands were handcuffed behind his back. Pope repeatedly told officers that he could not breathe and his mother asked Chauvin to move his knee, but he ignored both of them.
” I asked him to move it to my lower back because I feel like that would have helped me breathe more,” Pope told Frontline.
According to the news release, eight other MPD officers were on the scene, but none intervened, and multiple police body cams captured the incident.
She has alleged that, while responding to a domestic dispute call at her home, Chauvin slammed her head to the ground and then pinned his knee to the back of her neck, all while she was handcuffed and not resisting arrest. The news release says, “Chauvin remained on her neck for 4 minutes and 41 seconds” and that a second MPD officer failed to intervene.
The release says the incident was also captured by police body cams.