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Derek Chauvin biography: 13 things about Minneapolis cop who knelt on George Floyd’s neck

Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. In 2003, he was orally reprimanded on multiple occasions for allegations of using a demeaning tone and derogatory language.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. In 2010, he married Kellie.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

62 replies »

  1. Just curious, where was Derek Chauvin born? I know what he did WAS VERY VERY WRONG and HE NEEDS TO BE PROSECUTED FOR WHAT HE DID but I’m just curious of where he was born and nothing else.

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  2. A man is in custody, in handcuffs, and begs and pleads for his life… Is that not enough to sit him up and check on him??? It wasn’t like George Floyd had just murdered someone.
    A defective $20 bill… That is grounds for DEATH ???
    Eric Garner in Staten Island in 2014 — Murdered by officer Daniel Pantaleo in an illegal chokehold , who walked away a free man…Eric Garner’s DEATH penalty — selling single cigarettes…
    Now Derek Chauvin and his posse KILLING George Floyd… Videos show that there is NO resisting arrest, and did officer Derek Chauvin, with 19 years experience, think it was necessary to keep a handcuffed man down for over five minutes with his knee to George Floyd’s neck, compressing his neck and air passage until he DIED….
    This is MURDER…. And if any private citizen did it, he would be Jailed instantly… And for a police officer to do it, who has taken an oath to Serve and to Protect…
    He needs to be imprisoned for LIFE for his actions, his accomplice cops need to get matching sentences for their roles, in accordance with the penal code, and every cent that those four pathetic officers have need to be given to George Floyd’s family. And, no
    That will not bring George Floyd back to life.
    What a despicable action, and the Governor and Mayor overseeing this process must NOT become sympathetic to police officers who shirked their responsibility to Serve and to Protect… Imprisonment for Life is the only fair sentence.
    Do I dare say that I am White….

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    • There were 4 cops in the video: (1) Derek Chavin, the cop who kneed Floyd, may be part black; (2) Alex Kueng, the officer who put the cuffs on Floyd, is black; (3) Tou Thao, the cop who was talking to bystanders, is Vietnamese; (4) Tom Lane, the cop who held Floyd down as Chavin kneed Floyd, is black too.

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      • Why are you spreading misinformation about the race/ethnicity of the four cops? It’s not clear what outlandish, nonsensical point you’re trying to make, but your wrong. The cop who killed George Floyd “may have been part black”? Have you seen his booking mugshot? (You also spelled his name wrong.)

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      • I totally agree with you. He should serve life in prison for the total disregard of a human life. What goes around comes around. Mr. Chauvin may God help you now because no one else could

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  3. I think it is in very bad taste to publish addresses of these 4 police officers. Please know I completely support the firing and hopefully the arrest of all 4 of them and ultimately prosecution with a very long prison term for Chauvin! When you create more of an opportunity for harassment of the officer, it hurts the prosecution for the individuals and creates sympathy for them if individuals take extreme measures to harm them.

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  4. Derrick Chauvin is a hero and deserves a public commendation and gold medal. He was performing a public service. If you don’t believe me, just look up George Floyd’s criminal history. He’s a one-man crime wave. He even spent five years in prison for a violent robbery, even sticking a gun into a woman’s abdomen while demanding to know where the drugs and money were. But that’s just one example. He’s also a flagrant illegal drug abuser and addict. At the time of Chauvin’s heroic actions, Floyd had marijuana, fentanyl, norfentanyl, buprenorphine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and…. hmm… what am I forgetting? Oh well, that’s enough… He was basically a walking cesspool of illegal felonious drug abuse. And this immoral activity had been going on for many, many years. Society cannot and should not allow these flagrant felons to exist in civilized society. NO WAY. He certainly had enough chances over the years to clean up his act and had no interest in doing so. So, Derrick Chauvin… You are an American HERO!!

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