DOJ Investigating Derek Chauvin Over 2017 Incident Involving Black Teen

The DOJ is deciding whether to charge convicted murderer Derek Chauvin in connection with a 2017 incident involving a violent incident with a Black teen.

Derek Chauvin

Image via Getty/Mario Tama

Derek Chauvin

Just three days after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd, the U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly exploring whether to file charges against the former Minneapolis police officer in connection with a similar incident that took place in 2017. 

According to ABC News, the incident was captured in a series of videos that Minnesota state prosecutors obtained last year while preparing their case against Chauvin. The footage allegedly shows Chauvin violently subduing a 14-year-old Black teenager by kneeling on his back for several minutes. 

State prosecutor Matthew Frank, who argued in court papers for the video to be used in Chauvin’s trial, said the body camera footage in question shows “Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force towards this child and complete disdain for his well-being.” 

NEW: After Derek Chauvin's conviction for George Floyd's murder, the DOJ is weighing charging him for a 2017 incident in which Chauvin allegedly held down a Black teen with his knee for nearly 17 minutes, a source says.

— ABC News (@ABC) April 23, 2021

“Chauvin and [the other officer] placed [the teenager] in the prone position and handcuffed him behind his back while the teenager’s mother pleaded with them not to kill her son and told her son to stop resisting,” Frank wrote, according to the report. “About a minute after going to the ground, the child began repeatedly telling the officers that he could not breathe, and his mother told Chauvin to take his knee off her son.”

“Just like with Floyd, Chauvin used an unreasonable amount of force without regard for the need for that level of force or the victim’s well-being,” Frank wrote. “Just like with Floyd, when the child was slow to comply with Chauvin and [the other officer’s] instructions, Chauvin grabbed the child by the throat, forced him to the ground in the prone position, and placed his knee on the child’s neck with so much force that the child began to cry out in pain and tell Chauvin he could not breathe.”

The incident is now under criminal investigation. Federal prosecutors reportedly have convened a grand jury to review the case.

A jury on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the murder of George Floyd. He faces decades behind bars at his sentencing, which is scheduled for June 16.

Latest in Life