Derek Michael Chauvin is one of the four former police officers involved in the controversial death of George Floyd. On May 25, 2020, an employee at Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States called the Minneapolis Police Department to report a customer who bout cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.
Floyd apparently matched the suspect’s descriptions so he was arrested by Chauvin and three other cops namely Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. It was a deadly encounter witnessed by several bystanders and streamed on Facebook Live.
For 9 minutes and 29 seconds, Chauvin knelt on the neck of Floyd, who repeatedly tried to tell the cops that he could not breathe. About an hour and a half later, Floyd was pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
It was in that same hospital where Chauvin met his wife Kellie Chauvin, who is of Hmong descent. She was an employee in that hospital when he brought a suspect there for a health check before arrest.
On May 26, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation and on the same day, the Minneapolis Police Department fired Derek, Thao, Lane and Kueng. Here are 13 more facts about Derek:
- He was born in in Ramsey, Anoka County, Minnesota to Robert Michael Chauvin and Carolyn Marie Pawlenty, previously named Carolyn Marie Chauvin. Robert and Carolyn divorced on November 26, 1984.
- As a member of the U.S. Army, he served a member of the military police in Rochester, Monroe County, New York, USA from September 1996 to February 1997 and in Hohenfels, Germany from September 1999 to May 2000.
- Before becoming a police officer, he worked as a custom protection officer for a security services company and as a cook for McDonald’s and another restaurant. The Minneapolis Police Department hired him as a part-time community service officer on January 8, 2001 and he entered the Minneapolis Police Academy in October 2001.
- Having worked in the first, third and fourth precincts and the water works security detail, he has received 18 misconduct complaints against him, all of which were closed with no disciplinary action except for one that generated two official reprimands.
- In 2003, he was orally reprimanded on multiple occasions for allegations of using a demeaning tone and derogatory language.
- In 2006, he was one of the six officers who fired a weapon that resulted in the death of Wayne Reyes, who was accused of stabbing two people.
- In 2007, he received two letters of reprimand, one of which was for needlessly removing a woman from her car, searching her and putting her in the back of a squad car for driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. He allegedly hit an African-American boy, then 14, with his flashlight and used his knee to hold the boy down for around 17 minutes on September 4, 2017. The boy, who was accused of attacking his mother, received stitches at a hospital.
- In 2008, he responded in an incident involving a man armed with a gun and was awarded a department medal of valor for it, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. In the same year, he shot and wounded Ira Latrell Toles and received another medal of valor for it in 2009.
- In 2010, he married Kellie.
- In 2011, he was among the officers at the scene near the Little Earth community when Minneapolis officer Terry Nutter shot Leroy Martinez in the torso.
- In 2018, he joined Kellie onstage when she represented Oakdale in United States of America’s Mrs. Minnesota beauty pageant, in which she won as the contest’s first winner of Hmong descent.
- Working as a real estate agent and club bouncer in his off hours, he once worked overlapping security shifts with Floyd at the same nightclub, the El Nuevo Rodeo club in Minneapolis, and with a real estate license, he worked as an independent contractor for Realty Group between late 2018 and early 2019.
- On March 29, 2021, his trial opened with prosecutors showing in court a video of him kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The video is 9 minutes and 29 seconds long. He was 45 years old when he was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, which was announced on April 20, 2021.