Robins Kaplan Files Complaint Against Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for Unchecked Use of Excessive Force

May 21, 2024

Robins Kaplan LLP filed a complaint today against former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin and his previous partner, officer Ellen Jensen, for use of excessive force dating back to January 2020, months before Chauvin murdered George Floyd.

The complaint alleges that during an interaction with police in January 2020, Patty Day was violently jerked from her car by Chauvin and Jensen and thrown to the ground, despite being no threat to the officers. Chauvin then assumed his signature pose -- pressing his knee into Ms. Day’s back while she was handcuffed. Chauvin’s use of excessive force resulted in Ms. Day suffering a fractured tooth, along with significant arm and shoulder injuries. As alleged in the complaint, officer Jensen did nothing to intervene.

The complaint details that the City of Minneapolis knew their officers had a long history of gratuitous use of excessive force, including in the cases of 14-year-old John Pope and Zoya Code, who were both victims of Derek Chauvin in 2017. In these separate incidents, body-worn camera recordings from Chauvin and other MPD officers showed that Chauvin employed many of the same unchecked excessive force tactics he later used in his murder of George Floyd, for which he was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison in 2021. Chauvin was never disciplined for these incidents by the MPD, which had possession of the video evidence of his misconduct. Nor were any of the other involved officers disciplined.

“While it is clear that Derek Chauvin is a serial predator and Patty Day is just another in a long line of prey, it is the City of Minneapolis that holds the responsibility for training their officers on these excessive force techniques and not stopping the practice or holding their officers responsible once they knew how dangerous and deadly it could be,” said Robins Kaplan civil rights attorney Katie Bennett.

Ms. Day said, “Sadly, my experience with Derek Chauvin is not unique. George Floyd died at the hands of this individual, and had the City intervened on his behavior after my interaction, he could still be alive today. Other people have also had their civil rights violated, like Zoya Code and John Pope, showing his aggressive patterns. It was a traumatic part of my life that I hope no one else will have to endure.”

The complaint was filed in Federal court in Minnesota. Robins Kaplan attorneys involved in this lawsuit also include Robert Bennett and Marc Betinsky.

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