The former police officer at the heart of George Floyd's murder this week in Minneapolis was a racist asshole who got complaint after complaint for his racism over a nearly twenty year span.
The Minneapolis police officer seen kneeling on the neck of an unarmed black man heard saying "I can't breathe" multiple times before he died was a 19-year department veteran who was the subject of a dozen police conduct complaints that resulted in no disciplinary action. The officer, who was praised for valor during his career, also once fired his weapon during an encounter with a suspect, records show.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three fellow officers were fired Tuesday from the Minneapolis Police Department, one day after the incident involving George Floyd, whose cries of physical pain were recorded on a cellphone video and whose death led to a wave of violent protests Wednesday night in Minnesota's largest city. Minneapolis police identified the other officers as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.
To be the subject of a dozen complaints over a two-decade career would appear "a little bit higher than normal," said Mylan Masson, a retired Minneapolis Park police officer and longtime police training expert for the state of Minnesota at Hennepin Technical College.
But, she added, anyone can file a complaint against an officer, whether or not it's valid, and officers might be subject to more complaints if they deal with the public often. Either way, an officer's disciplinary record will be up for scrutiny in any legal proceedings, Masson said.
An investigation including state authorities is being led by the FBI. Chauvin, 44, who is white, is being represented by lawyer Tom Kelly, who declined to comment when contacted by NBC News. Efforts to reach the other officers for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.
But that also means that the DA for Hennepin County for part of the time that Chauvin was being a racist piece of garbage was Amy Klobuchar, and she did nothing to prosecute him based on those complaints, either. It's yet another strike against her both as Senator for Minnesota and especially against her being Biden's VP.
Eighteen years before Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man named George Floyd on Monday, Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man named Christopher Burns. Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar decries the killing of Floyd. Back then, Minneapolis chief prosecutor Amy Klobuchar refused to prosecute city police for killing Burns.
A year ago, the Washington Post published a thorough news article under a clear headline: “As a Prosecutor in Heavily White Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar Declined to Go After Police Involved in Fatal Encounters with Black Men.” Her refusal to seek justice after Burns died was part of a pattern.
With Klobuchar now on Joe Biden’s short list for vice president, the gruesome killing of Floyd has refocused attention on Klobuchar’s history of racial injustice. In sharp contrast to her prosecutorial approach two decades ago, she has issued a statement calling for “a complete and thorough outside investigation” into Floyd’s death and declaring that “those involved in this incident must be held accountable.”
During the first years of this century, with a bright political future ahead of her, Klobuchar refused to hold police officers accountable. And her failure to prosecute police who killed black men was matched by racially slanted eagerness to prosecute black men on the basis of highly dubious evidence.
Klobuchar's role in the injustice surrounding the death of Christopher Burns was bad enough, but it's just another reminder that she has had a real blind spot when it comes to both race and criminal justice that pretty much any other of Biden's possible picks would be better at.
Black Lives Still Matter.