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Monday, November 28, 2022

New federal lawsuit targets Derek Chauvin, the former cop who killed George Floyd

New federal lawsuit targets Derek Chauvin, the former cop who killed George Floyd

MINNEAPOLIS ( Associated Press) — Two Minnesotans filed federal civil rights lawsuits Tuesday against the city of Minneapolis and Derek Chauvin, alleging that when the former police officer used his “signature move” to kneel on his neck — the same way They killed George Floyd.

John Pope Jr. was just 14 years old in September 2017 when he says Chauvin subjected him to unnecessary force while responding to reports of a domestic assault. Another case alleges that in June 2017, Chauvin used excessive force against Zoya Code when she allegedly tried to strangle her mother with an extension cord.

Both lawsuits claim racism; Pope and Cod are black and Chauvin is white. He alleges that the city knew he had a record of misconduct, but was not deterred and allowed him to work long hours to kill Floyd on May 25, 2020, a case that has led to a national debate on racial injustice. impacted. Both lawsuits seek unspecified damages and name the other officers involved.

The Minneapolis City Attorney’s office indicated that it is considering settlements. The criminal charges against the Pope and the code were eventually dropped.

“The incidents involving John Pope and Zoya Codd are disturbing,” Interim City Attorney Peter Ginder said in a statement. “We intend to proceed in negotiations with the plaintiffs on these two matters and hope that we can reach an appropriate resolution. If one or both lawsuits cannot be reached, the disputes may be referred to the normal course of litigation. have to be sorted out.”

Chauvin’s lawyers have not responded to requests for comment.

The Pope and Code are represented by Minneapolis civil rights attorney Robert Bennett, who negotiated a $20 million settlement for the family of Justin Ruszczyk Damond, an Australian woman who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer in 2017. Of. Bennett also negotiated a settlement worth about $3 million. To the family of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a suburban officer in 2016.

The city paid $27 million to the family of George Floyd. Bennett was not involved in that agreement.

Chauvin accepted several of the Pope’s charges when he pleaded guilty in December to federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s death, a deal that also included a guilty plea against the Pope for his actions. Chauvin awaits sentencing on federal charges. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in a state court last year for killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes after he pleaded he could not breathe.

According to Pope’s complaint, her mother was drunk when she called the police because she was upset with him and her 16-year-old sister for leaving their cellphone charger plugged in when it was not in use, leading to a physical confrontation . It alleges that Chauvin struck the Pope’s head at least four times with a large metal torch, then put the Pope in a chokehold.

Defendant Chauvin then performed his signature move: he pinned John to the floor with his own body weight, pressing his left knee into John’s upper back and neck. … Chauvin for more than fifteen minutes Will proceed to keep John in this prone position while John was completely subdued and not resisting,” the complaint alleges. “In those minutes, John cried over and over again that he couldn’t breathe.”

The complaint alleged that at least eight other officers did nothing to interfere. It says that Chauvin did not mention in his report that he had struck the Pope with his torch, nor did he mention pinning the Pope for so long. Chauvin’s sergeant reviewed and approved his report and the use of force, “despite direct knowledge that the report was false and misleading,” it alleges.

The lawsuit alleges that in addition to physical injuries, Pope suffered significant emotional distress and continued to attend counseling and therapy.

Code’s trial alleges that Chauvin and another officer were investigating reports of her mother’s assault when they handcuffed her to the ground after a brief struggle. When he refused to stand up, officers took him outside.

“Outside the residence, defendant Chauvin slammed Zoya’s unprotected head on the ground. Then he immediately took his signature pose kneeling behind Zoya’s neck,” the complaint alleges. It has been told that his knee remained on his neck for 4 minutes 41 seconds.

The Code complaint alleges that Chauvin’s accomplice did nothing to interfere that day, and that his sergeant later reviewed and approved the use of force.

Code admits to a history of mental illness and homelessness, and alleges that Chauvin’s actions made his condition worse.

Both lawsuits claim that if the department had disciplined Chauvin, “history could have been prevented from repeating itself with George Floyd.”

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