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What we know about the officers involved in George Floyd’s death

Officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned Floyd down with his knee, was arrested for murder and manslaughter.

Protesters rally outside the Columbus, Ohio, statehouse demanding justice for George Floyd, on May 30.
Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

As more information comes out about the four police officers at the center of the death of George Floyd, protesters are calling for more action to be taken against them.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was swiftly fired last week and then charged Friday evening with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for holding his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, resulting in his death.

Three other officers watched the events unfold, but did not intervene. They were fired from the force, but have not been charged with a crime. Protesters are now calling for their arrest.

Floyd’s death ignited protests nationwide over police brutality, particularly against black Americans who are disproportionately affected.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on Friday, May 29, 2020.
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Here’s what we know, and don’t know, about Chauvin and his three colleagues so far.

What we know about Derek Chauvin

  • Chauvin is the officer accused of killing Floyd by pinning his neck down with his knee.
  • The 44-year-old officer had worked in the police department for 19 years. He was fired on Tuesday, one day after Floyd’s death.
  • Chauvin owns houses in Oakdale, Minnesota and Orange County, Florida. Both locations became hot spots for protesters.
  • Both Chauvin and Floyd worked security at El Nuevo Rodeo, a nightclub in the city, although it’s unlikely they knew each other, according to the club’s former owner. Chauvin worked outside while Floyd worked inside, and Chauvin had been with the club for much longer than Floyd.
  • Chauvin had 17 complaints filed against him with the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs. The details of these complaints are unclear, but only one was “closed with discipline” — two letters of reprimand — according to the Minneapolis Police Department.
  • He’s been involved in several police shootings: In 2006, Chauvin was one of the officers who shot and killed Wayne Reyes, 42, a stabbing suspect who allegedly pulled a gun on the police. In 2008, he shot Ira Latrell Toles, a domestic assault suspect, in the abdomen. And in 2011, he was with a group of officers that fired at 23-year-old Alaska Native Leroy Martinez, who was spotted running from a shooting. An eyewitness told the Star Tribune at the time that Martinez had dropped his weapon and held his arms in the air before the police shot him.
  • Chauvin was arrested on Friday for third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and is being held at the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul on $500,000 bail. He isn’t being held in the county where he was charged — Hennepin County — because it was “dealing with potential threats to their facilities.” He could serve up to 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
  • Chauvin is the first white officer in Minnesota to be charged for the death of a black civilian.

What we don’t know

  • The date of Chauvin’s first court appearance
  • The details of the complaints against Chauvin

What we know about the other officers

  • Three other officers involved in the incident were fired on Tuesday, but none of them have been arrested yet.
  • Tou Thao is the officer in the video who stood guard as Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck down with his knee.
  • Thao completed his police academy training in 2009 but was laid off for two years. He returned to the police department in 2012.
  • Six police conduct complaints were filed against Thao. Five were closed without discipline and one was still open when he was fired.
  • Thao was the subject of an excessive force lawsuit in 2017 along with another officer, Robert Thunder. The suit’s plaintiff, Lamar Ferguson, said Thao and Thunder punched, kicked, and kneed him during his arrest, which resulted in broken teeth, bruising, and trauma. After taking Ferguson to the hospital for medical treatment, they escorted Ferguson to jail in only his T-shirt and underwear, according to the lawsuit. Thao said he arrested Ferguson because of an outstanding arrest warrant and that he only punched Ferguson after one of his hands slipped out of the handcuffs. The lawsuit was settled out of court for $25,000.
  • J Alexander Kueng, 26, and Thomas K. Lane, 37, are the other two officers involved in Floyd’s death. Kueng helped pin Floyd down and Lane allegedly pointed a gun at Floyd before handcuffing him. Both were also fired on Tuesday.
  • Kueng and Lane were licensed last August and didn’t have any complaints filed against them.

What we don’t know

  • Whether the three other officers will be arrested
  • Whether they will be charged
  • The details of the complaints against Thao