2:22 PM PDT, September 16, 2021
Derek Chauvin pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court to using excessive force in the detention of a 14-year-old Black boy. Chauvin was convicted earlier this year for the murder of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd.
Chauvin was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly depriving the teen of his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force. The indictment claimed Chauvin gripped the boy by his throat, hit him in the head with a flashlight and then kneeled on his neck and back while the teen was handcuffed and not resisting.
The restraining method Chauvin used against the teen in 2017 was similar to the one he used against Floyd in 2020, authorities said.
Asked by U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer how he would plead to the charge, Chauvin replied, “Not guilty, your honor.”
Chauvin was convicted in April on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing. He was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison. He is also charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s civil rights by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd was pinned facedown in the asphalt, calling for his dead mother and screaming that he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin appeared Thursday via video conference from Minnesota’s maximum security prison, where he is serving his sentence.
A 2017 police report filed by Chauvin said the teen resisted arrest, and after being handcuffed, Chauvin “used body weight to pin” him to the floor. The boy was bleeding from the ear and needed two stitches, authorities said.
In state court filings, prosecutors said Chauvin had used neck, head or upper-body restraints seven times before Floyd’s killing, dating to 2014. In four of those incidents, Chauvin used the restraining methods “beyond the point when such force was needed under the circumstances.”
Chauvin and three other former officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, were arraigned on civil rights violations in Floyd’s death on Tuesday. All have pleaded not guilty.
Lane, Kueng and Thao also face state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.