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January 26, 2023
Two lawsuits were filed in federal court against former police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday alleging that he used excessive force in two 2017 incidents that went unabated by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
The lawsuits claim that the inaction on those incidents, which happened years before Chauvin murdered George Floyd during an arrest in 2020, enabled the officer to continue his tactics.
Both lawsuits claim Chauvin discriminated against the plaintiffs due to their race and violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, also alleging civil rights violations against the City of Minneapolis.
“This kneeing maneuver was Defendant Chauvin’s calling card,” according to the complaint filed on behalf of John Pope Jr., who was just 14 in September 2017 when he says Chauvin subjected him to gratuitous force by hitting him in the head with a metal flashlight while responding to a domestic assault report.
The lawsuit goes onto say that Chauvin used his “signature move” on them years earlier and “history could have been stopped from repeating itself.”
The second lawsuit alleges Chauvin used excessive force against Zoya Code in June 2017 after she allegedly tried to strangle her mother with an extension cord.
Both lawsuits seek unspecified damages and name other officers involved. The Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office indicated it is considering settlements. Criminal charges against Pope and Code were eventually dropped.
“The incidents involving John Pope and Zoya Code are disturbing,” Interim City Attorney Peter Ginder said in a statement. “We intend to move forward in negotiations with the Plaintiffs on these two matters and hope we can reach a reasonable settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached on one or both lawsuits, the disputes will have to be resolved through the normal course of litigation.”
Chauvin admitted to many of Pope’s allegations when he pleaded guilty in December to federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s death, a deal that also included a guilty plea for his actions against Pope. Chauvin is awaiting sentencing on the federal charges.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MINNESOTA CBS LOCAL