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Personnel records shed light on four Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's death

Jennifer Bjorhus and Liz Sawyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS -- Derek Chauvin, the now-fired Minneapolis Police officer charged with second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, worked in military police in the U.S. Army during his two years of active service, including a stint in Germany.

Chauvin's military background is among the details in a cache of personnel records released by the Minneapolis Police Department late Wednesday.

The heavily redacted files shed light on the four fired officers' varied work lives. The records were released just hours after Attorney General Keith Ellison's office upgraded Chauvin's charge to second-degree murder and formally charged the other three officers who failed to intervene with aiding and abetting murder. All four men remain jailed.

Chauvin, 44, who was caught on camera with his knee on Floyd's neck, grew up in the St. Paul area. He attended Park High School in Cottage Grove but did not graduate. After getting his GED he attended Dakota County Technical College, Inver Hills Community College and Metropolitan State University. Previous jobs include working security, and food service including at a McDonald's.

Chauvin's work record includes two periods of active service in the U.S. Army. From September 1996 to February 1997 he was stationed in Rochester with a job in military police. He served again from September 1999 to May 2000 in military police, at Hohenfels, Germany. He described his job duties as including criminal investigations, traffic enforcement and proactive patrol.

Chauvin's 19-year career with the Minneapolis Police Department, where he was involved with several police shootings, includes both commendations and more than 15 conduct complaints. Almost all the complaints were closed without discipline, records show, suggesting the allegations weren't sustained. The nature of the complaints wasn't made public. The file includes a 2008 letter of reprimand Chauvin received for the two violations involving "discretion" and a squad car camera. "This case will remain a B violation and can be used as progressive discipline for three years," the letter notes.

 

The letter doesn't give any details of the incident. However, there is a complaint in the file from August 2007 from a woman who accused Chauvin and another officer of pulling her from her car, frisking her and putting her in the squad car for going 10 mph over the speed limit. "Further investigation showed (redacted) did not have the audio on and the squad MVR tape had been turned off during course of stop."

The file also includes two letters from women commending him on his handling of domestic violence calls in 2008 and 2013.

Chauvin received a Medal of Commendation in 2008 for disarming a man outside the El Nuevo Rodeo club on E. Lake Street while working security off-duty in his uniform.

He was also recommended for a Medal of Valor in 2006. That recognition was related to the shooting death of Wayne Reyes, a stabbing suspect who fled in his truck with officers in pursuit. When Reyes stopped and climbed out of the truck, police said he swung his sawed-off shotgun toward the six officers. All fired.

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