Just three weeks before the tragic killing of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, three of the former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in his death, had detained an innocent Black man.
According to the Star Tribune, Chauvin responded to a call about a woman being held hostage by an armed man on May 3, 2020. Along with officers Kueng, Lane and Luis Realivasquez, he marched into a South Side apartment building as a Black man named Adrian Drakeford exited. The man was carrying an object that authorities said they believed was a knife. He was immediately tackled to the ground outside of the apartment building.
Drakeford’s brother, Lee, started recording the incident with his cellphone. Kamaria Layton, Drakeford’s girlfriend, pleaded to the officers that they were making a mistake. “He didn’t do nothing!” she cried.
“Chauvin watched calmly and silently, tapping an object against his leg, as Kueng and Lane worked the handcuffs onto Adrian’s wrists,” reports the outlet. “Realivasquez eyed the crowd starting to amass and pulled a can of chemical irritant from his utility belt.”
“Back up!” he demanded, while shaking the can. Drakeford had no relation to the 911 call from the woman who was held hostage by an armed man. He simply lived across the hall from the where the woman said she was being held captive.
He was eventually released and no charges were filed. Officers did arrest and charge Terrance, one of Drakeford’s brothers, with obstructing the legal process after he protested the way the officers handled his sibling. Authorities also tried to arrest Lee, but he ran away when they tried to detain him. Terrence’s misdemeanor charge was later dropped by the Minneapolis City Attorney “in the interest of justice.”
“It’s not the style of policing you want to see any law enforcement practice,” said Andrew Gordon, who represented Terrance. “Their interest is not necessarily about investigating a crime. … Their interest is to put these kids in their place.”
A few weeks later, Chauvin, Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao were fired and criminally charged with the death of Floyd. Chauvin, who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three former cops are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.