Crime, Law and Justice

Lawsuit: Woman alleges Chauvin also kneeled on her months before George Floyd’s murder

portrait of a man with a grey suit
In this image taken from a video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court at the Hennepin County Courthouse on June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. He is the subject of a new federal lawsuit alleging excessive force.
Court TV via AP 2021

A lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday alleges then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and a partner used excessive force that was similar to that used in the murder of George Floyd later that same year.

A woman, named in the lawsuit as Patty Day, says in January 2020, Chauvin and partner Ellen Jensen violently pulled a woman from a car and threw her to the ground and that Chauvin kneeled on her back while she was handcuffed. Day claims she suffered a broken tooth and injuries to her arm and shoulder.

The suit says Chauvin and Jensen were called out to 41st Avenue South on a report of a possibly intoxicated driver with their vehicle stuck in a snowbank. The suit says driver, identified as Day, had pulled over after realizing she was too intoxicated to drive and the van got stuck. The suit claims the officers were not clear in their directions and yanked Day from the vehicle, injuring her.

Jensen is no longer a Minneapolis police officer. The complaint alleges Jensen did not intervene.

Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck and back for more than nine minutes. The former officer was convicted of murder in Hennepin County District Court in 2021 and sentenced to 22 1/2 years. He is serving time in federal prison after being convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Day’s attorneys allege Chauvin's use of excessive force was part of a documented pattern of misconduct, which they say the department had video of.

“The video evidence was available for MPD supervisors and policymakers to see, if anyone had cared enough to look,” the suit says. “But MPD command and control personnel ignored this evidence or, worse, reviewed it and did nothing, in either case continuing to condone such actions by Chauvin and other officers.”

The lawsuit asks for a judgment of at least $9 million from the city for punitive and compensatory damages.

The city has already paid more than $35 million in settlements involving Chauvin’s use of excessive force — including the $27 million paid to Floyd's family.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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