Business & Technology

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

Derek Michael Chauvin is one of the four police officers involved in the fatal arrest 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.

Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin

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. On the same day, the Minneapolis Police Department fired Derek, Thao, Lane and Kueng.

Derek 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.

Weighing around 140 pounds, Derek is 5’9″ tall. Here are 13 more things about him:

  1. From 1995 to 1999, he attended Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Dakota County, Minnesota. 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. His military service ended in 2004.
  2. 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. He entered the Minneapolis Police Academy in October 2001.
  3. Working in the Minneapolis Police Department’s first, third and fourth precincts and the water works security detail, he 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.
  4. 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 the same year, he graduated from Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement.
  5. 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.
  6. In 2008, he responded in an incident involving a man armed with a gun and was awarded a department medal of valor for it. In the same year, he shot and wounded Ira Latrell Toles and received another medal of valor for it in 2009.
  7. In 2010, he married Kellie. They have no children together. On February 2, 2021, their divorce was approved. Amanda Mason-Sekula represented her while he represented himself in the divorce.
  8. 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 the same year, he and Kellie bought a townhouse in Windermere, Florida, USA for $210,900.
  9. He and Kellie underreported their joint income by $464,433 from 2014 through 2019, including more than $95,000 for his off-duty security work, according to nine felony tax evasion counts filed against them in July 2020. On November 5, 2021, Washington County District Judge Sheridan Hawley entered not guilty pleas on tax evasion charges on behalf of him and Kellie.
  10. In 2017, he and Kellie bought another house in Oakdale, Minnesota for $260,000. On September 4, 2017, he arrested an African-American boy, then 14, and allegedly hit the teenager with his flashlight and used his knee to hold the boy down for around 17 minutes on September 4, 2017. The boy received stitches at a hospital. In June 2021, the boy filed a lawsuit against him.
  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. 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. With a real estate license, he worked as an independent contractor for Realty Group between late 2018 and early 2019.
  12. 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. On April 20, 2021, he was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On June 25, 2021, his mother appeared in court with him and pleaded with Judge Peter Cahill for leniency. He received a sentence of 22 years and six months in prison with credit for time served for the second-degree unintentional murder of Floyd. On September 16, 2021, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer via videoconference and pleaded not guilty to violating the civil rights of the teenager he allegedly hit on September 4, 2017. On December 15, 2021, he pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights.
  13. On July 7, 2022, senior U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced him to 252 months but subtracted seven months for time served. He also pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a boy, 14, in 2017 by using excessive force. He was 46 years old when his appellate lawyer William Mohrman argued on January 18, 2023 on the Minnesota Court of Appeals in St. Paul that extensive pre-trial publicity made it impossible for him to get a fair trial in 2021 so he should be given a new one.

(This is a developing story. More details will be added.)


65 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.


  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….


    • 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.


      • 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.)


      • 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


  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.


  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!!


  5. Wishing you had also included his multi-state residence (Minn. and Florida) and the resultant dubious tax situation of the Chauvins. Mr. Chauvin has attempted to dodge Minnesota taxation. This is not the behavior of a law-abiding civil servant.


    • That’s what I was going to ask! He’s using the same lawyer for his tax case. How’d that get missed?? Also they didn’t know each other from work. If his warrant for tax evasion had been served 2 months prior then he wouldn’t have ever crossed paths with George.


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