Prosecutors in the upcoming trial of former cop Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing George Floyd, have asked to present video they say shows the Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a teenage suspect in 2017, as the youth pleads he can't breathe.
Assistant attorney general Matthew Frank filed a motion in Hennepin County District Court this week, saying bodycam video of a 14-year-old boy being arrested by Chauvin shows he used excessive force on a suspect who did not immediately comply with his orders, the Star Tribune reported.
“As was true with the conduct with George Floyd, Chauvin rapidly escalated his use of force for a relatively minor offense,” Frank wrote in the motion. “Just like with Floyd, Chauvin used an unreasonable amount of force without regard for the need for that level of force or the victim’s well-being."
Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, said his client acted within 2017 department guidelines on dealing with uncooperative suspects.
Floyd died in police custody in May. The Black man was facedown on the street, with his hands cuffed behind his back, while Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, video footage showed. Floyd calls out for his dead mother, screams he can't breathe, and sends his love to his children as he lies dying, according to the video.
Floyd's death sparked outrage across the country, and protesters filled streets to decry law enforcement violence against people of color.
In the 2017 arrest, the 14-year-old was allegedly slow to comply with Chauvin and another officer’s instructions, prosecutors said. Chauvin allegedly grabbed the child by the throat, forced him to the ground and put his knee on the boy’s neck before placing him in a prone position with a knee on his back, the motion said.
The boy told Chauvin “he could not breathe,” and was also bleeding after the officer had allegedly struck him in the head with a flashlight, prosecutors said.
Chauvin and his co-defendants, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
Chauvin faces second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter charges. The three others are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
All have pleaded not guilty.