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Chauvin enters not guilty plea to federal civil rights charge involving a 14-year-old

Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin entered a not guilty plea Thursday in a brief hearing in U.S. District Court on a charge involving a confrontation with a 14-year-old in 2017.

Chauvin is alleged to have pinned down the teenager, struck him with a flashlight and grabbed him by the throat, according to the two-count indictment. Chauvin was in federal court earlier this week with three other former officers and entered a not guilty plea to that separate federal indictment alleging he abused his position of authority when he knelt on George Floyd in May 2020.

The former Minneapolis officer appeared remotely from prison, responding to U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer with "good morning" when she greeted him and asked if he could see and hear her and the lawyers.

The 45-year-old, who was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in Floyd's death earlier this year by a Hennepin County District Court jury, entered his plea and then listened as Bowbeer and the lawyers discussed a list of numerous pending pretrial motions. The motions were mainly housekeeping matters and didn't involve substantive discussions at the 20-minute hearing. Bowbeer said she'd issue written rulings.

This separate indictment of Chauvin involves a violent arrest from Sept. 4, 2017, captured on police body-worn camera when he and another officer responded to a complaint from a mother who said her juvenile son and daughter assaulted her.

When the officers arrived, they found the 14-year-old son lying on the floor and ordered him to get off his phone and stand up because he was under arrest, according to the indictment. When the boy refused, Chauvin grabbed him and struck him in the head with a flashlight multiple times.

 

The video shows Chauvin using a neck restraint, choking the boy unconscious, then placing him in a prone position with a knee in his back for about 17 minutes until paramedics arrived, according to court documents.

Chauvin remained on top of the boy as his mother tried to intervene while the boy complained about being in pain and unable to breathe.

The boy started bleeding from his ear — from getting hit with the flashlight, he later told paramedics — and he asked to be flipped on his back. But Chauvin kept his knee on the child's back.

In his report from the incident, Chauvin suggested that the boy "displayed active resistance to efforts to take him into custody" by "flailing his arms around." He wrote that the boy was "approximately 6'2" and at least 240 pounds," would "escalate his efforts to not be arrested," and because of his size, Chauvin struck him to allow him to be controlled.

Chauvin appeared from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights where is serving a 22 1/2-year sentence for Floyd's murder.

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