Prosecutors: Chauvin used neck restraints in past arrests

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A white police officer accused in the death of George Floyd had used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times before, including four incidents in which prosecutors say he went too far, according to prosecution documents released Friday in the case against four former Minneapolis officers charged in Floyd’s death.

In one July 2019 arrest, prosecutors say, Derek Chauvin kicked an intoxicated male in the midsection, then applied a neck restraint until he fell unconscious.

In June 2017, Chauvin restrained an arrested female by placing his knee on her neck while she was prone on the ground, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said in those cases and in two others, Chauvin held the restraints “beyond the point when such force was needed under the circumstances.”

The list of Chauvin’s arrests involving restraints dates to 2014. It was made public on the same day that Chauvin and three other former officers appeared in court for a hearing on the prosecution’s request to hold a joint trial, a defense request to move the trial out of Minneapolis, and other issues. Judge Peter Cahill took most issues under advisement.

Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck even as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests, sometimes violent, that spread around the world. The officers were fired. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes; Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting.

Chauvin appeared in court for the first time after attending previous hearings via videoconference from the state prison where he’s being held. He didn’t make eye contact with other defendants as he arrived.

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