More legal trouble for former officer charged with murder of George Floyd, plus a FL angle

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's booking photo. Photo courtesy of Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, and the Minnesota Reformer news organization.

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer charged with second degree murder in the killing of George Floyd, has been charged with nine felony counts of tax fraud in Washington County, Minn. The charges accuse Chauvin of six counts for filing false or fraudulent returns and three counts for failure to file tax returns.

Kellie Chauvin, the former officer’s wife, has also been charged with identical tax fraud counts. She filed for divorce from Derek Chauvin in May, which is pending.

Chauvin, who is currently being jailed in lieu of bail at the maximum security facility Oak Park Heights, has become a symbol of police brutality after he was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, for over nine minutes according to body camera footage, killing him. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

The killing set off unrest first in Minneapolis and then around the country and across the world, galvanizing both Black and white Americans to seek racial justice.

In the days following the killing, internet sleuths uncovered that the Minneapolis officer and his wife owned property both in Oakdale, Minn., and in Windermere, Fla., prompting protests outside both properties.

Chauvin was listed as a Florida resident on his real estate license on file with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Public records show Chauvin’s Minnesota real estate license was categorized as being a “non-resident.”

According to an archived Facebook post from Kellie Chauvin, she identified herself as “a VRBO/Airbnb owner,” posting a photograph of a home with an outdoor pool and palm trees, tagged as being in the Orlando area.

The day of George Floyd’s killing, Kellie Chauvin posted a video on Instagram which appeared to show an alligator in a pond, suggesting she may not have been in Minnesota. She filed for divorce from the former officer on May 31, which is pending.

Chauvin was registered to vote in Florida as of June, and had voted there in the 2016 and 2018 general elections, according to a statement from Bill Cowles, Supervisor of Elections for Orange County, Fla. Prosecutors there said they would “proceed accordingly” with an investigation if Minnesota authorities provided them information to support a violation of Florida law.

Fewer than 10% of Minneapolis Police officers live in the city they serve, which police reform advocates have long cited as damaging police-community relations. The Legislature passed a bill early Tuesday — which Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign Thursday — that would provide new incentives for officers to live in the cities they patrol.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Reformer reporter Max Nesterak contributed reporting.

This report is from the Minnesota Reformer, an independent, nonprofit news organization that is part of the States Newsroom. Florida Phoenix also is a part of the nonprofit States Newsroom, which employs more than 70 full-time editors, reporters, and support staff in 18 states across the country, focusing on coverage of state policy and politics.