Minneapolis residents sue ex-cop Derek Chauvin for excessive use of force

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been accused in two new lawsuits of using excess force in conducting arrests. Photo courtesy Ramsey County Sheriff's Office/UPI
Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been accused in two new lawsuits of using excess force in conducting arrests. Photo courtesy Ramsey County Sheriff's Office/UPI | License Photo

June 1 (UPI) -- Two Black Minneapolis residents have filed separate lawsuits against Derek Chauvin, a White former city police officer jailed for killing George Floyd, on accusations that he used excessive force against them.

The complaints were filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota naming Chauvin and several other officers as defendants as well as the City of Minneapolis.


The lawsuits follow Chauvin being convicted on all three counts of murder for killing Floyd, a Black man whose death Memorial Day 2020 sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Chauvin was subsequently sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.

Video of the crime taken by a bystander shows Chauvin kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed and prostrate Floyd for more than eight minutes as he told the officer he couldn't breath.


In the lawsuits, which were obtained by Courthouse News, John Pope Jr. and Zoya Code accuse Chauvin of employing "his signature move" against them.

"This kneeing maneuver was defendant Chavuin's calling card, having used it against Zoya, John Pope, George Floyd and likely many others," Code's complaint states, adding that Chauvin "actively sought to prey on compliant, vulnerable Black arrestees."

The complaint states that on the night of Sept. 4, 2017, officers were dispatched on a report of a domestic assault call to the Chicago Ave. home where a then-14-year-old Pope lived with his mother and sister.

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Chauvin was one of the responding officers, and found Pope lying on his bedroom floor using his cellphone. The complaint states that the teenager "posed no immediate threat to the officers or anyone else" nor had he attempted to flee scene.

However, Chauvin moved toward him and "willfully swung his flashlight at John's head, striking him near his left ear."

The complaint accuses Chauvin of hitting Pope in the head several times with the flashlight before "he pinned John to the floor with his body weight, pressing his left knee into John's upper back and neck" -- a position he maintained for no more than 15 minutes, the complaint states.


Difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, a cut to the ear, contusions and head trauma were listed in the court document as injuries Pope sustained during the incident.

Meanwhile, Code's lawsuit accuses Chauvin of using excess force against her on June 25, 2017.

The court document states Code's mother called police alleging she had been assaulted and strangled by her daughter with an extension cord.

Code was not present when police arrived but returned to find Chauvin and another officer there, the document states, adding she walked into the main living area of the residence and passed Chauvin who then grabbed her, spun her around and began to place handcuffs on her, sparking a brief struggle.

The complaint states that once Code was handcuffed she neither posed a threat to the officers or anyone else nor did she resist arrest.

However, when she refused to stand up when commanded by the officers, Chauvin attempted to pull her up by her arms, which he used to carry her out of the residence where he "gratuitously slammed Zoya's unprotected head on the ground.

"Then he immediately took his signature pose, kneeing on the back of Zoya's neck," the court documents states.

According to the complaint, during the arrest, which was captured on the officers' body-worn cameras, Code asked Chauvin, "How long are we gonna stay like this?" and "Can you get off my neck?"


Among the injuries documented in the complaint, Code suffered from anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, irritability and changes in her appetite as well as an increase in severity in PTSD symptoms that she previously suffered from.

Charges that were brought against the two were eventually dropped.

In a statement, Minneapolis interim city attorney Peter Ginder called the situations that Code and Pope faced "disturbing" and that they intend to settle.

"We intend to move forward in negotiations with the plaintiffs on these two matters and hope we can reach a reasonable settlement," Ginder said. "If a settlement cannot be reached on one of both lawsuits, the disputes will have to be resolved through the normal course of litigation."

Protesters march for social justice

The Surrogate's Court building exterior remains vandalized while Occupy City Hall protests continue outside City Hall in New York City on June 30. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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