Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer who put his knee in George Floyd’s neck, is asking the judge overseeing his case to block prosecutors from introducing evidence of his alleged previous use of similar neck and body restraints on other people.
In new court documents, obtained by the Washington Post, Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, argues his ''use of force'' in those cases was legal and cleared by police supervisors.
Prosecutors are attempting to cite eight incidents from Chauvin’s 19-year career as a Minneapolis officer in order to prove a pattern of excessive force and behavior similar to the restraint that killed Floyd.
Nelson is asking Hennepin County District Judge Peter A. Cahill to block that proposed evidence, arguing his client had used approved force and had been essentially ''acquitted by MPD supervisors of applying force in a manner that was either unreasonable or unauthorized.''
''The state attempts to characterize Mr. Chauvin’s use of force as ‘unreasonable’ or ‘beyond what was needed,'’' Nelson wrote.
''And in every single one, it was determined by a supervisor that Mr. Chauvin’s use of force was reasonable in the circumstances and authorized by law and MPD policy.''
All four officers charged in Floyd’s death have been released from custody, with Chauvin being the last to make bail.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in connection with George Floyd’s death. He faces 23 years in prison if he’s convicted of unintentional second-degree murder.
Prosecutors have also charged Chauvin, and his estranged wife, with multiple counts of tax evasion for allegedly lying about their income.
In June, Chauvin was charged with first-degree murder, while the three other officers involved in Floyd's death — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Kiernan, and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
All four officers were fired from their positions at the Minneapolis Police Department.
The trial for all four men is currently scheduled for March 8, 2021. It has not been determined yet if all four will be tried together, or separately.
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Photo: Minneapolis Police Department