Female City Worker: My Encounter With Derek Chauvin Left Me ‘Traumatized’

Patricia Day
Patricia Day

Killer cop Derek Chauvin is facing new allegations that he used excessive force, including his deadly “signature pose,” while violently arresting a city worker just four months before he brutally killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.

On Tuesday, Patricia Day filed a lawsuit against Chauvin, his partner officer Ellen Jensen, and the City of Minneapolis for the “gratuitous use of excessive force” used against her during an arrest on the evening of Jan. 17 2020.

Attorney Katie Bennett told The Daily Beast that it all began when Day, who at the time was the communications and public outreach director for the Minneapolis Department of Public Works, “pulled herself over” on her way to pick up her child from daycare.

Then 37-year old Day had been drinking, Bennett said, and realized that she should not be driving after traveling only a short ways down road. At the time, Day was going through a difficult divorce and had turned to alcohol to “numb” herself, Bennett said, but she knew the behavior was problematic and had sought help.

Chauvin and Jensen responded to calls of a “suspicious vehicle” on the side of the road, according to the police report, and said Day “showed signs of impairment.”

During their interaction, Day was “violently yanked” from her car by Chauvin and thrown to the ground, the suit alleges. “Chauvin then assumed his signature pose, pressing his knee into the subdued and handcuffed Patty’s back—just as he would later do to snuff the life out of George Floyd—and remaining that way well after Patty was controlled,” it says.

As Day was being handcuffed she was stabbed in her left hand, Bennett said, leaving a deep gash which has since scarred, according to the lawsuit. She also suffered a broken tooth, a sprained ankle, and persisting pain in her arm and shoulder, which she continues to experience years later, according to the suit. The incident left her “embarrassed” and “traumatized,” the suit says.

Patricia Day’s injured arm after her encounter with officer Derek Chauvin.

Patricia Day’s injured arm after her encounter with officer Derek Chauvin.

Courtesy of Robins Kaplan LLC

According to Bennett, because Day was arrested during the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she was not released until the following week. She was held in the same building where she worked, Bennett said.

Day alleges that Chauvin and Jensen violated her civil rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and that the City of Minneapolis empowered Chauvin to “run amok” by empowering, and failing to discipline, violent officers.

“Sadly, my experience with Derek Chauvin is not unique,” said Day, in a press release from Robins Kaplan LLC. “George Floyd died at the hands of this individual, and had the City intervened on his behavior after my interaction, he could still be alive today.”

Day’s lawsuit alleged that in police reports, Chauvin lied and “omitted the true extent of his assault,” while Jensen submitted “a post hoc sanitization of what had actually occurred.” Neither mentioned that Chauvin had knelt on Day’s back, and continued to do so after she had been handcuffed.

According to the suit, neither officer mentioned that Day was injured in their arrest reports, and neither completed a use-of-force report, or an injury report.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses his sentencing hearing in 2021.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses his sentencing hearing in 2021.

Pool via Reuters

“The material lies and omissions in the officers’ reports are the type that MPD rank and file are accustomed to making without consequence or repercussion from supervisors and those all the way up the chain of command,” the lawsuit says.

Day was charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of third-degree DWI, but during her evidentiary hearing, Assistant Minneapolis City Attorney Backstrom allegedly pushed for a less severe fourth-degree charge “because of how she was treated” during her arrest. A judge also found that Day’s reported reluctance to exit her vehicle was “insufficient to support a finding that there was probable cause to arrest her for obstruction.”

The case against Day was ultimately dismissed for lack of evidence.

She is now seeking compensatory damages in excess of $9 million each from Chauvin, Jensen and the City of Minneapolis, plus punitive damages and legal fees.

Day has also requested that the Minneapolis Police Department implement new policies and training measures.

Bennett said she has now handled three cases of excessive force against Chauvin, who was sentenced to prison for 22-and-a-half years in 2021.

“Obviously there was a racial element in some of the other ones,” she told the Daily Beast, referencing the cases of 14 year-old John Pope, and Zoya Code, both of whom screamed for help as Chauvin pressed on their necks. “The theme, or thing that they all have in common seems to be that they’re all in a vulnerable state.”

She added that Chauvin, “feels emboldened to act that way because he hopes or thinks that they won’t fight back, or can’t fight back and stand up for themselves.”

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