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Minneapolis Settles More Derek Chauvin  Lawsuits for $8.9 Million; Ex-Cop Kneeled on Necks of Two Black People In 2017

The city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $8.9 million to settle two lawsuits on April 13. The lawsuits were filed by two Black people terrorized by former MPD officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of killing George Floyd in 2020 during an arrest by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Chauvin knelt on the necks of both plaintiffs during two arrests in 2017. One of Chauvin’s victims was just a 14-year-old boy at the time of his assault. The other was a now-40-year-old woman. Both assaults occurred in 2017.

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Derek Chauvin. (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

On June 25, 2017, Zoya Code was assaulted by Chauvin after the police were called to her home for a domestic dispute. Chauvin told Code she was under arrest and grabbed her arm as she pulled away. The New York Times reported that he pulled her to the ground face-first before kneeling on her back. Two officers carried her outside where she was again put face down on the ground and handcuffed. Chauvin knelt on her neck despite no resistance from Code as she pleaded, “Don’t kill me.”

“He just stayed on my neck,” she recalled. “Then he did. Just to shut me up,” she said.

Chauvin kneeled on her neck for more than four minutes. “He stayed on my neck and wouldn’t get off. But I survived.”

On Sept. 4, 2017, John Pope was also assaulted by Chauvin during an arrest. Pope’s mother called the police after an argument with her son. The lawsuit claimed that she was “clearly and obviously drunk.” She told Chauvin that her son had grabbed her but had no visible injuries.

Pope was lying on the floor in his bedroom talking on a cellphone when Chauvin entered and demanded he stand up. The teen responded that his mother was drunk. Video showed the ex-police officer hitting Pope twice in the head with a metal flashlight. He also grabbed him by the throat and choked the teenager until he lost consciousness.

Then Chauvin knelt on his neck for 15 minutes as he lay calmly on the floor as other officers stood by and did nothing. His mother can be heard begging Chauvin, “Do not kill my son! Please,” as Pope sobbed for his mother in the background and said they were trying to kill him.

Pope told KSTP News that the video shows a pattern of behavior in the MPD.

“I think it shows a culture and a pattern of behavior that is approved within the department,” he said. “That if it’s not shown publicly, or not posted, that they can hide it or keep it to themselves.”

The now-20-year-old also spoke with KARE11 News and said the assault still haunts him to this day.

“It’s not an easy thing to go through,” said Pope. “But, because your body, it tries to heal itself or it tries to protect itself.” He also said more needs to be done to stop police brutality. “I don’t have the solution to the problem, I can’t say it’s only reform, but it’s a lot that needs to be done, not only reform.”

The lawsuit called Chauvin’s kneeling on victim’s necks his “signature move.” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said if Chauvin would have been terminated following the excessive force assaults, George Floyd would not have been murdered.

“Derek Chauvin is exactly where he should be, which is in federal prison,” said Frey. “He should have been fired in 2017. He should have been held accountable in 2017. … If the supervisors had done the right thing, George Floyd would not have been murdered.”

The city agreed to pay Pope $7.5 million in the settlement and Code $1.375 million.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara called Chauvin “a national embarrassment to the policing profession.”

“This is an example of the cancer that has infected this department,” said O’Hara. “Today is not a day for excuses or attempts at justification. The notion that we are dealing with the bad actions of one employee is false. We are dealing with the ugly consequences stemming from a systemic failure within the Minneapolis Police Department that has allowed for, and at times encouraged, unjust and brutal policing.”

Code and Pope’s lawyer, Bob Bennett, noted that Chauvin isn’t the only culprit.

“Beware the ease of blaming Chauvin alone. While he is a blunt instrument of police brutality and racism, he could never flourish in a police agency that lived up to its mission statement,” said Bennett. “Focus instead on the MPD rank and file who supported Chauvin with their unquestioning obedience, failure to intervene to stop his heinous acts, and their failure to report them per policy and human conscience.”

What people are saying

One thought on “Minneapolis Settles More Derek Chauvin  Lawsuits for $8.9 Million; Ex-Cop Kneeled on Necks of Two Black People In 2017

  1. Racism is a scourge that has plagued societies for centuries, causing deep-rooted pain and suffering for millions of people. It is a divisive force that has no place in a civilized society, and those who espouse racist views and behavior should be called out and criticized.

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