07/06/2022


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin responds as he listens as a judge announces his sentence of 22-and-a-half years in prison for murder in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, April 25.

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – Two black Minneapolis residents on Tuesday filed federal civil rights lawsuits against Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer convicted of killing George Floyd, claiming he treated them similarly in the past.

Lawyers representing them told reporters that John Bob Jr and Zoya Codd alleged racial and civil rights abuses in the lawsuits. The lawsuits stem from incidents dating back to 2017.

Floyd, a black man suspected of delivering a false bill, was killed in May 2020 when Chauvin knelt on his neck while three other officers looked on. The incident sparked a wave of protests against racial injustice around the world.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison last year after being convicted of premeditated murder. He pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Bob was 14 years old in 2017 when officers were called to his home due to news of domestic disturbances. Lawyers said Tuesday that Chauvin was one of the officers who responded, and entered Bob’s bedroom, where Bob was talking on his cell phone and was lying on the floor.

They said that “Chauvin lunged at Bob and hit him several times in the head with a large flashlight” and “pinned Pope to the ground with his knee, the same tactic he used with George Floyd.”

In Codd’s case, lawyers alleged Chauvin used excessive force, adding that he hit her head on the ground and put his knee on her neck.

Chauvin’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The criminal charges against Bob and Codd were eventually dropped. Prosecutors, who joined their attorneys at Tuesday’s press conference, said they were shocked by Chauvin’s actions. They also filed lawsuits naming the city of Minneapolis as the defendant.

“The incidents involving John Bob and Zoya Code are concerning. We intend to advance negotiations with the plaintiffs on these two issues and hope that we can reach a reasonable settlement,” the Minneapolis Attorney General’s office said.