crime and punishment

Amended criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin (©Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

Derek Chauvin (©Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

  • PLAINTIFF: State of Minnesota
  • DEFENDANT: Derek Michael Chauvin
  • CHARGES:
  1. second degree murder, unintentional, while committing a felony
  2. third degree murder, perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind
  3. second degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk

STATEMENT OF PROBABLE CAUSE

On May 25, 2020, someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise from Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota with a counterfeit $20 bill. At 8:08 p.m.,Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officers Thomas Lane and J.A.Kueng arrived with their body worn cameras (BWCs) activated and running. The officers learned from store personnel that the man who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner from the store on 38th Street.

BWC video obtained by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shows that the officers approached the car,Lane on the driver’s side and Kueng on the passenger side. Three people were in the car; George Floyd was in the driver’s seat, a known adult male was in the passenger seat and a known adult female was sitting in the backseat. As Officer Lane began speaking with Mr. Floyd, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands. When Mr. Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel,Lane put his gun back in its holster.

While Officer Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Officer Lane ordered Mr. Floyd out of the car, put his hands on Mr. Floyd, and pulled him out of the car. Officer Lane handcuffed Mr. Floyd.

Once handcuffed, Mr. Floyd walked with Officer Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Officer Lane’s direction. When Mr. Floyd sat down he said “thank you man” and was calm. In a conversation that lasted just under two minutes,Officer Lang asked Mr. Floyd for his name and identification. Officer Lane asked Mr. Floyd if he was “on anything” and noted there was foam at the edges of his mouth. Officer Lane explained that he was arresting Mr. Lloyd for passing counterfeit currency.

At 8:14 p.m., Officers Kueng and Lanestood Mr. Floyd up and attempted to walk Mr. Floyd to their squad car. As the officers tried to put Mr. Floyd in their squad car, Mr. Floyd stiffened up and fell to the ground. Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting but he did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic.

MPD Officers Derek Chauvin (the defendant) and Tou Thao then arrived in a separate squad car. The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of their squad car by pushing him from the driver’s side. As the officers were trying to force Mr. Floyd in the backseat, Mr. Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily sit in the backseat and the officers physically struggled to try to get him in the backseat.

The defendant went to the passenger side and tried to get Mr. Floyd into the car from that side and Lane and Kueng assisted.

The defendant pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed. Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs. The defendant placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeatedly said,”Mama” and “please,” as well. At one point, Mr. Floyd said “I’m about to die.” The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions.

One of the officers said, “You are talking fine” to Mr. Floyd as he continued to move back and forth. Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” and the defendant said,”No, staying put where we got him.”

Officer Lane said,” I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” The defendant said,”That’s why we have him on his stomach.” The defendant and Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s right hand up. None of the three officers moved from their positions.

While Mr. Floyd showed slight movements, his movements and sounds decreased until at 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving. At 8:25:31 the video appears to show Mr. Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, “want to roll him on his side.” Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” None of the officers moved from their positions.

At 8:27:24, the defendant removed his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck. An ambulance and emergency medical personnel arrived, the officers placed Mr. Floyd on a gurney, and the ambulance left the scene. Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd’s autopsy on May 26, 2020. While the ME did not observe physical findings supportive of mechanical asphyxia, the ME opines that Mr. Floyd died from cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers. The autopsy revealed that Mr. Floyd had arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, and toxicology testing revealed the presence of fentanyl and evidence of recent methamphetamine use. The ME opined that the effects of the officers’ restraint of Mr. Floyd, his underlying health conditions, and the presence of the drugs contributed to his death. The ME listed the cause of death as “[c]ardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” and concluded the manner of death was homicide.

The defendant and Officers Lange and Kueng subdued Mr. Floyd prone to the ground in this manner for nearly 9 minutes. During this time, Mr. Floyd repeatedly stated he could not breathe and his physical condition continued to deteriorate such that force was no longer necessary to control him. The defendant had his knee on Mr.Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive.Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous. Officer Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr. Floyd’s death as well.

Defendant is in custody.

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