A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin in May on a charge he violated the Black teenager’s constitutional rights when he employed force similar what he used on Floyd, who died in May 2020 after he was restrained facedown and handcuffed on a Minneapolis street as he begged for breath and was no longer resisting.
Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for nearly nine and a half minutes until the man no longer had a pulse, was convicted in April of murder and sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison for the man’s death. He and the other officers at the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao — are also facing federal charges alleging they violated Floyd’s civil rights during that fatal arrest.
All four pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing in that case on Tuesday.
Chauvin appeared via videoconference Thursday for a brief arraignment hearing in the second federal case. The former officer, 45, was seen seated at a table in a conference room at the maximum-security prison near the Twin Cities where he currently is serving out his state murder sentence.
Asked to enter a plea in this case by U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer, Chauvin, who was dressed in a beige shirt and pants instead of his usual orange prison jumpsuit, replied, “Not guilty, your honor.”
The September 2017 case first came to light during Chauvin’s state murder trial, when prosecutors sought to include the incident as one of several previous arrests they argued proved a pattern of Chauvin using excessive force — including on people of color and suspects who were larger than him.
In a police report detailing the incident, Chauvin wrote that he had been dispatched to the scene where he encountered a mother who claimed she had been assaulted by her son and daughter during a dispute over a cellphone charger. He wrote that he found the teenager laying on the ground in a bedroom, where he ignored “verbal commands” and resisted arrest.
In his report, Chauvin estimated the boy’s size to be “approximately” 6-foot-2 and “at least 240 pounds” and that because of his “large size,” he delivered a “few strikes” to the boy’s shoulders and later used a “neck restraint” and his “body weight” to control the teenager.
In a filing in the Floyd case last November, state prosecutors said body-camera footage of the 2017 incident showed Chauvin hitting the boy in the head with his flashlight just eight seconds after grabbing the boy in an attempt to put him in handcuffs. Just two seconds later, Chauvin allegedly “grabbed the child’s throat and hit him again in the head with his flashlight,” prompting the boy to cry out in pain and for his mother.
Prosecutors said the video showed Chauvin ordering another officer to use a taser on the teenager, but the other officer didn’t have one. Chauvin then allegedly used a neck restraint on the boy, causing him to lose consciousness and fall to the ground where he was handcuffed face down.
According to prosecutors, Chauvin placed his knees on the boy’s neck and back, even though he was no longer resisting. When the boy came to, he repeatedly told Chauvin he couldn’t breathe, but the officer stayed atop him for 17 minutes, ignoring the boy’s mother who begged him to get off her son.
In a move similar to his actions during Floyd’s arrest, Chauvin allegedly kept his knee pressed into the boy’s body — even as paramedics arrived and saw blood coming from the boy’s ear, apparently from the blow of Chauvin’s flashlight.
According to the police report, the boy was taken the hospital, where he received stitches, and was later taken to jail. The boy’s mother later told police her son “has some type of mental disability,” while the boy’s sister, who was also arrested, claimed her mother had been drinking, which caused the initial altercation. No charges were filed in the case.
On Thursday, the boy, who is now 18 and has declined to speak publicly about the incident, was among those observing a video stream of Chauvin’s arraignment. Bowbeer quickly summarized motions in the case, including defense requests for discovery before recessing.
A trial date has not yet been set for either federal case.