The ex-Minneapolis cop charged in the police-custody death of George Floyd used similar strong-arm tactics against six other suspects since 2015, according to a new report.
Derek Chauvin, 44, who was fired following Floyd’s death on May 25, used neck restraints — including kneeling on them as he did with Floyd — against a half dozen other people of color in the Minnesota city, a report released this week by The Marshall Project contends.
“He just stayed on my neck,” Zoya Code, who was restrained by Chauvin in 2017, told the nonprofit journalism organization.
When an angry Code challenged the former cop to press down harder, “he did.”
“Just to shut me up,” she said.
She said she finally pleaded with the cop, “don’t kill me.”
Prosecutors in Chauvin’s second-degree murder case in Floyd’s death asked a judge to allow details of Code’s arrest to be used in the case against him.
Chauvin was seen on viral video pressing his knee against the back of Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and pleading, “I can’t breathe.”
Three other since-fired officers are charged with aiding and abetting.
Last week a judge approved the request to cite Code’s case but said five other instances — both on and off duty — where Chauvin is accused of using chokeholds or excessive restraints will not be allowed at the trial.
But researchers at The Marshall Project interviewed Code and three other alleged victims and eyewitnesses of the other cases — for which Chauvin was never disciplined.
All four are people of color — two are black, one is Hispanic, and the other Native-American, the report said.
In the earliest incident, Chauvin was working as an off-duty security guard at a Minneapolis nightclub on Feb. 15, 2015, when he got into a scuffle with carpenter Julian Hernandez, the report said.
Hernandez said Chauvin was pushing him out of the club when “things escalated.”
He said Chauvin put him in a chokehold.
In another enounter in April 2016, another man, Jimmy Bostic, was accused of panhandling by a local shopowner, who called police.
“The next thing I felt was arms just wrapped about my neck,” Bostic said. “I started telling him, ‘Let go, I’m having trouble breathing. I have asthma. I can’t breathe.”
“Looking back on Mr. Floyd, that could have been me,” he said. “And I would no longer be alive right now to even tell my story.”
In a March 2019 incident, Sir Rilee Peet, 26, was asking cops for a ride when he got into a scuffle with Chauvin after he refused to take his hands out of his pocket.
The ex-cop reportedly tried to grab Peet and a struggle ensued, with Chauvin allegeldy macing the man, taking him to the ground, and handcuffing him behind his back.
“He said, ‘I can’t breathe, can I just put my head up?’” eyewitness Monroe Skinaway recalled. “And they just held his face in the water, and I couldn’t see a purpose for that.”
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, argued against including the prior incidents at his client’s upcoming trial in Floyd’s death.
Nelson did not respond to a request for comment from The Marshall Project, but said in court papers that the “there was nothing unreasonable or unauthorized” in his client’s earlier incidents.
The lawyer said there was no evidence that Chauvin acted improperly and that he committed no crimes in restraining the suspects.
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