Mr. Chauvin, who was fired, has said through his attorney that his handling of Mr. Floyd’s arrest was a reasonable use of authorized force. But he was the subject of at least 22 complaints or internal investigations during his more than 19 years at the department, only one of which resulted in discipline. These new interviews show not only that he may have used excessive force in the past, but that he had used startlingly similar techniques.
All four people who told of their encounters with Mr. Chauvin had a history of run-ins with law enforcement, mostly for traffic and nonviolent offenses.
Ms. Code’s arrest occurred on June 25, 2017. In a court filing, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, said the officer acted properly in the case, responding to “a violent crime in a volatile situation.” He said that “there was nothing unreasonable or unauthorized about Mr. Chauvin’s actions.”
Ms. Code’s mother had accused her of trying to choke her with an extension cord, according to the arrest report. Ms. Code said in an interview that her mother was swinging the cord around, and that she merely grabbed hold of it.
She said she had left the house to cool off after the fight and when she returned, Mr. Chauvin and his partner had arrived. In the prosecutors’ description, based on Mr. Chauvin’s report and body-camera video, Mr. Chauvin told Ms. Code she was under arrest and grabbed her arm. When she pulled away, he pulled her to the ground face first and knelt on her. The two officers then picked her up and carried her outside the house, facedown.
There, prosecutors said, Mr. Chauvin knelt on the back of the handcuffed woman “even though she was offering no physical resistance at all.”
Ms. Code, in an interview, said she began pleading: “Don’t kill me.”
At that point, according to the prosecutors’ account, Mr. Chauvin told his partner to restrain Ms. Code’s ankles as well, though she “was not being physically aggressive.”