Law&Crime has obtained a copy of the criminal complaint against former police officer Derek Chauvin on charges of third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was the officer seen with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, who became unresponsive while in police custody and was later declared dead on Monday. The release of the criminal complaint on Friday does go into detail on how authorities are blaming the defendant for Floyd’s death.
Here’s the main takeaways from the document.
1. Chauvin Kneeled on Floyd’s Neck for More Than Two Minutes After Victim Became Unresponsive: Prosecutors
As seen on video, the defendant kneeled for several minutes on Floyd’s neck during an arrest. Floyd cried out, saying he couldn’t breathe. He pleaded with the officer to get off of him. Minutes passed. Floyd stopped crying out. Bystanders voiced concern that he was dead. Officials dragged his limp body onto a gurney.
Prosecutors detailed how bad Chauvin’s actions allegedly were:
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.
Cops were trained to know this was dangerous, prosecutors said.
2. Preliminary Findings of Autopsy
An autopsy was performed Tuesday, the authorities said. They say the medical examiner’s report is still pending, but the preliminary findings said there’s no showing to support a “support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
Authorities do contribute “underlying health conditions” as a partial cause of death. They also cited “potential intoxicants” in Floyd’s body, but didn’t detail or confirm what these were supposed to be. From the complaint:
Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.
3. Police Confronted Floyd at Gunpoint
The prosecution detailed the reasons why police had taken Floyd into custody in the first place. There was an allegation of someone using a counterfeit $20 bill at Cup Foods, police said. Officer Thomas Lane, one of three other officers who got fired alongside Chauvin, confronted Floyd:
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 in the steering wheel, Lane put his gun back in its holster.
Another officer, identified as J.A. Kueng, spoke to the front seat passenger of the vehicle while Lane ordered Floyd of the car, prosecutors said. He put his hands on Floyd, and took him out of the vehicle.
Prosecutors claim Floyd “actively resisted” getting handcuffed, but became compliant once that was over.
4. Chauvin Declined to Turn Floyd on His Side, Prosecutors Said
Officers Kueng and Lane tried to walk Floyd to their squad car, but Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic,” prosecutors said. That’s when Chauvin got involved, according to this account. He arrived with Officer Tou Thao in another squad car.
From the complaint:
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. The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions.
Officers allegedly dismissed Floyd’s complaints, saying “You are talking fine.” Lane asked if they should rolled him to his side, but Chauvin said no.
“I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Lane allegedly said.
“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” Chauvin allegedly said.
Floyd’s family said they had “expected a first-degree murder charge.”
It’s not yet officially clear if the other officers involved will be charged, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman did say on Friday that they are under investigation and that charges are expected. He did not get into specifics about what those charges might be.
You can read the complaint here:
[Screengrab via Darnella Frazier]
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