THE COP who put his knee on George Floyd also put his knee on a 14-year-old boy's back for so long, he passed out.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was seen on video earlier this summer kneeling on George Floyd's neck for close to nine minutes before Floyd died of his injuries, was caught on tape likewise kneeling onto a 14-year-old's back in 2017.
Now, prosecutors in Chauvin's upcoming murder trial want to show that video to jurors.
In the video, the 14-year-old is seen on the ground gasping for air all the while Chauvin ignored his pleas for help, saying he couldn't breathe.
Assistant State Attorney General Matthew Frank wrote in a memorandum filed in Hennepin County District Court on Monday that "when faced with a suspect who does not immediately comply with his demands, Chauvin intentionally uses a level of unreasonable force to accomplish subdual and restraint."
Frank's defense comes as a complete rebuttal of the defense claim that Chauvin used reasonable force on Floyd this summer.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, said the department's then-policy allowed Chauvin to use the force he used when dealing with uncooperative suspects.
"The similarities between the State’s proffered acts, which were noncriminal incidents of Mr. Chauvin acting in his duties as a Minneapolis Police officer," Nelson wrote. "And the charged offenses are merely:" before rattling off Chauvin's actions.
"They involved Mr. Chauvin effecting, or assisting in, the arrest of a suspect; all involved resistance from or a struggle with a suspect; some involved Mr. Chauvin using his body weight to control an arrestee; some involved a neck restraint," Nelson continued. "This is simply insufficient to show a marked similarity between the proffered incidents and the charged offenses."
Frank's move to include the video comes as prosecutors sought to introduce evidence from seven previous incidents in which Chauvin had used excessive force to restrain suspects.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill has not yet ruled on the memorandum against Chauvin and his three co-defendants: Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.
Prosecutors also cited one incident involved Kueng and nine with Thao.
The department banned the use of chokeholds and neck restraints in June. Chauvin and his three co-defendants were fired the day after Floyd's death in May.
On September 4, 2017, Chauvin and another officer responded to a domestic assault where a mom said she was assaulted by her underage son and daughter.
When police arrived, they found the son laying on the floor and ordered him to get up because he was under arrest. When he refused, Chauvin grabbed him and hit him in the head with a flashlight before grabbing him by the throat and once again hitting him with a flashlight – all in a minute of meeting the teen.
Video shows Chauvin applying a neck restraint to the teen, who went unconscious briefly. Chauvin then put him in a prone position while kneeling on his back for 17 minutes before paramedics arrived.
Throughout this, Chauvin held the teen in the position even as he said he was in pain and couldn't breathe and after his mom tried to intervene.
The teen then began bleeding from his ear due to the flashlight hit, and asked to be put on his back because his neck hurt so much. He started crying again and asked to be turned over, which Chauvin retorted if the teen would be "flopping around at all."
When the boy said "no," Chauvin responded "better not" while keeping his knee on the boy's back.
Chauvin's report mentioned that the teen, who he described as being "approximately 6’2” and at least 240 pounds" would "escalate his efforts to not be arrested." He cited the boy's size and him "flailing his arms around" as reason to "deliver a few strikes to [the juvenile male] to impact his shoulders and hopefully allow control to be obtained."
However, Frank says the video shows aa different story.
"As was true with the conduct with George Floyd, Chauvin rapidly escalated his use of force for a relatively minor offense," Frank wrote. "Just like with Floyd, Chauvin used an unreasonable amount of force without regard for the need for that level of force or the victim’s well-being."
"Just like with Floyd, when the child was slow to comply with Chauvin and Walls’ instructions, Chauvin grabbed the child by the throat, forced him to the ground in the prone position, and placed his knee on the child’s neck with so much force that the child began to cry out in pain and tell Chauvin he could not breathe," he continued.
"And just like with Floyd, Chauvin ignored those pleas and refused to provide medical assistance."
Chauvin is facing second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter charges, while the other three former officers stand charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Their trial starts on March 8.
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