Skip to main content

A look at some of the differences between the criminal complaints filed against Derek Chauvin

Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's complaints described some things differently.
Derek Chauvin

Charges against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin were elevated to second-degree murder on Wednesday after Attorney General Keith Ellison was tasked at heading up the investigation into George Floyd's death. 

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman initially charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter. 

And the criminal complaints filed against Chauvin feature varying word choices to describe what happened (here's the complaint Ellison filed, and here's the one Freeman filed). 

Here's a look at some differences between the two criminal complaints: 

In the complaint filed by Freeman, it states "Officer (Thomas) Lane handcuffed Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd actively resisted being handcuffed." Meanwhile, the complaint filed by Ellison does not include this language and just states: "Officer Lane handcuffed Mr. Floyd."

After the officer handcuffed Floyd, Freeman's complaint says "Mr. Floyd became compliant and walked with Officer Lane to the sidewalk." While Ellison's doesn't include the language that states he became compliant, stating "Mr. Floyd walked with Officer Lane to the sidewalk."

Both complaints say at that point, Floyd sat on the ground at Officer Lane's direction. Ellison's complaint then states: "When Mr. Floyd sat down he said 'thank you man' and was calm." Freeman's complaint does not mention this. 

The complaints say they had a conversation that lasted under 2 minutes and then asked if Floyd was "on anything." Ellison's complaint then said Officer Lane "noted there was foam at the edges of his mouth," while Freeman's complaint does not mention this. 

When Officers Lane and Alexander Kueng went to walk Floyd to the squad car, Ellison's complaint says, "As the officers tried to put Mr. Floyd in their squad car, Mr. Floyd stiffened up and fell to the ground. Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting but he did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic."

Freeman's complaint describes this by stating: "Mr. Floyd stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic."

At this point, Officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao arrived at the scene, and the officers "made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat" of the squad car, with Ellison's complaint describing it as the officers doing so "by pushing him from the driver's side. As the officers were trying to force Mr. Floyd in the backseat, Mr. Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily sit in the backseat and the officers physically struggled to try to get him in the backseat."

Freeman's complaint is less detailed, stating the officers made several attempts to get him in the backseat from the driver's side. "Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still. Mr. Floyd is over six feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds.

"While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe," Freeman's complaint added.

Later on in the complaints, when they're describing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's head and neck, Ellison's complaint said Floyd said "I'm about to die." Freeman's complaint does not mention this. 

Freeman's complaint states "BWC (body-worn camera) video shows Mr. Floyd continue to move and breathe. At 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving." 

Ellison's complaint states, "While Mr. Floyd showed slight movements, his movements and sounds decreased until at 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving." 

Ellison's complaint then goes into more detail from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report of the autopsy conducted on Floyd. Freeman's does not include some of these details but does note the full report was still pending. 

Freeman's complaint states: "The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death."

Ellison's complaint says, "Officer Chauvin's restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr. Floyd's death as well."

Next Up

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

ambulance

2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

MN House members say they've 'lost faith' in Hennepin County attorney

They want Attorney General Keith Ellison to handle the case against the officers in George Floyd's death.

Derek Chauvin

Smaller protests outside homes of Derek Chauvin, Hennepin Co. Attorney

There was some property damage at Chauvin's house, but demonstrations were otherwise peaceful.

Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin charged with 2nd-degree murder of George Floyd

AG Keith Ellison confirmed the charges Wednesday.

Derek Chauvin

Prosecutors: Chauvin knelt on teen's neck for 17 minutes in 2017

Prosecutors are seeking to include body camera footage from the arrest, which they say shows a pattern of excessive force by Chauvin.

mike freeman

Watch live: Attorney on arrest of ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin

Chauvin was arrested Friday, according to DPS Commissioner John Harrington.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 7.07.04 PM

Gov. Tim Walz says AG Keith Ellison will lead George Floyd prosecutions

He will take over the lead from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

George Floyd

51 arrested in Minneapolis protests after Chauvin is released from prison

The former officer charged in George Floyd's death posted bond Wednesday and was released, prompting the largely peaceful protests in Minneapolis.