Derek Chauvin Faces Another Lawsuit for Excessive Force

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer jailed for killing George Floyd, is facing a new legal claim for excessive force. Law firm Robins Kaplan LLP filed a suit on May 20 in a Minnesota federal court claiming Chauvin and his then-partner Ellen Jensen had used excessive force on their client in January 2020, months before Floyd’s death.

The complaint refers to an incident involving claimant Patty Day, who says Chauvin “violently jerked” her from her vehicle and threw her to the ground. Day furthermore alleges that Chauvin pinned her down by applying his knee to the back of her neck, a position identical to the one found to have caused George Floyd’s death months later.

Patty Day claims that she sustained injuries from Chauvin’s behavior toward her, including a fractured tooth and shoulder damage. The suit contends that Ellen Jensen did not act to prevent Mr. Chauvin from causing her harm. The complainant issued a press release along with her lawsuit, in which she blamed the city of Minneapolis and said officials knew of Chauvin’s conduct and did nothing.

The incident involving Ms. Day unfolded when cops received a call saying a vehicle had gotten stuck in a snowbank, and the driver appeared intoxicated. When Chauvin and Jensen responded, they found Patty Day unable to start her car. Day admits she was drunk at the time but insists she was not belligerent or argumentative. “I was simply trying to show them that there were no keys in the ignition,” she said.

In 2022, two other Minneapolis residents filed suits, alleging Chauvin handled them forcefully and placed his knee on their necks. Zoya Code and John Pope also sued the city of Minneapolis for failing to prevent Chauvin from mistreating the public. In April 2023, the parties settled the case, and the city awarded Code and Pope just under $9 million. Code, who was 14 at the time of the incident, settled for $7.5 million.