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Derek Chauvin Accused of Putting Knee Into Woman’s Back Months Before George Floyd Murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is accused of putting his knee to the back of a woman just months before he did the same thing to George Floyd.

A new lawsuit accuses ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of using his knee on the back of a woman to subdue her months before he did the same move, which proved to be fatal, on George Floyd.

On Tuesday, May 21, a lawsuit was filed in Minnesota federal court on behalf of Patty Day, a Minneapolis resident who accuses Chauvin and his former partner Ellen Jensen of using excessive force in January 2020 during an arrest that she was not resisting, NBC News reports.

The suit, filed against both officers and the city of Minneapolis, alleges Day’s Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated along with her civil rights.

Day, who worked as the communications and public outreach director for the Minneapolis Department of Public Works at the time, alleges to have been “violently” yanked from her car and thrown to the snow-filled ground with Chauvin pressing his knee into her back. As a result of the violent arrest, she suffered a fractured tooth and bruises across her body.

The arrest took place on January 17, 2020. Day, who was depressed and going through a divorce at the time, left her home intoxicated to pick up her children from daycare, the lawsuit states. After driving a few blocks during the snowfall, Day pulled over into a snowbank after realizing she shouldn’t be driving.

While parked outside someone’s property, the owner called the police. They arrived at the vehicle at 8:50 p.m. and saw Day talking to two people who told the officers she “has a bad situation at home and pulled over to rest.”

Day’s keys were not in the ignition—she had thrown them in the backseat to avoid driving. She also mistakenly left her cell phone at home. While talking to Jensen through the window, Chauvin approached, unlocked the car door from the outside, and “violently grabbed Patty’s left and right arms, respectively, and began pulling her out of the vehicle,” according to the lawsuit.

The officers never informed Day that she was under arrest before physically removing her from the minivan, the complaint said. Day cracked her tooth upon being thrown to the ground and suffered bruises and pain to her arms, shoulder, face, hands, chest, ankle, and legs.

She says she was handcuffed and ordered to stand up and walk to the police car. “I was not resisting. I was not being belligerent … I was simply trying to show them that there were no keys in the ignition of my car,” Day told KARE of Minneapolis.

Chauvin and Jensen’s police reports failed to mention their use of force. They claimed to have ordered Day to exit the vehicle. Hennepin County District Judge Julie Allyn viewed body camera video footage and concluded that Day was not given any orders before being pulled out, the lawsuit claims.

Day was charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of third-degree DWI and her driver’s license was temporarily revoked. A hearing was held in February 2021 while Chauvin was awaiting trial on murder charges in the death of George Floyd; Day’s criminal charges were dismissed over a lack of evidence. The prosecution acknowledged that the city attorney’s office didn’t “condone the way that the interaction went down in this particular case,” Day’s suit states.

The lawsuit cites Chauvin’s “documented pattern of misconduct,” which was reportedly ignored by the Minneapolis Police Department. It also names Chauvin’s other excessive force victims John Pope and Zoya Code, as well as the millions the city has paid in excessive force settlements.

“The city has paid nearly $80,000,000 in the last two decades as a result of the unconstitutional use of force by MPD officers.”

Day is currently seeking a trial by jury along with compensatory and punitive damages.

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