The emotional trauma of the incident still remains with the mother, despite the incident having taken place years ago.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of police brutality.
He was quiet. He was a workaholic. He didn't have too many friends. And in the 19 years he spent as an officer of the Minneapolis police force, Derek Chauvin has unnecessarily reacted aggressively with people and even terrorized others for no valid reason.
Today, he is recognized all over the world for the ruthless officer pressing down his knee on George Floyd’s neck, leading to his death and nationwide protests.
Of the several questionable things he has done while in uniform, one of them included him being unreasonable aggressive and using his power against a breastfeeding mother who was pulled out of her car and traumatized.
The incident, which took place in August, 2007, involved Melissa Borton who spoke to The New York Times about how disgracefully she was treated by the infamous officer. Melissa had just finished up grocery shopping and was driving in her minivan when Chauvin, accompanied by another officer, had made her pull over.
Chauvin then reportedly stuck his hand inside an open window of the vehicle and unlocked the door of the minivan; neither did he bother to ask her for permission, nor did he tell her why he was doing all of this. Chauvin then went on to remove Melissa's seatbelt himself and then started pulling her out of the car.
"They fumbled with my seat belt and dragged me away," Melissa told Los Angeles Times. “They didn’t say anything to me this entire time."
The mother was made to sit in the backseat of their police car while her 2-month-old baby and her dog were left inside her minivan, reported The New York Times.
Finally, when Melissa was told what was going on, the officers informed her that they were on the lookout for a car that was part of a crime and that her vehicle looked similar to her vehicle. The mother was left completely upset until finally, the officers told her she was free to go.
The innocent mother was unfairly treated and even had to hear one of the officers hurl a rude comment at her. "When I got out, they noticed that my shirt was wet, which was from being a breastfeeding mother," recalled Melissa. "Chauvin or the other officer rudely said, ‘You probably have postpartum depression, and you need help.'"
The very next day, Melissa filed a formal complaint but never heard back from the department for six months. She called them up herself to ask what the status of her complaint was, and she was told that although the officer was disciplined, they could not give out more details. Melissa said, as reported by Los Angeles Times, "They kept that secret. I assumed he would get a slap on the wrist, but that was just my assumption."
Investigations into the incident of Chauvin dragging the breastfeeding mother out of the car showed that he "did not have to remove complainant from car" and "could’ve conducted interview outside the vehicle."
Melissa also added, "There’s something wrong with the police around here,” and she said that her experience shows a “long history of an officer who’s unhinged and probably shouldn’t have been on the force."
Despite years having passed since the incident, the emotional trauma she felt being dragged out of the car and kept away from her newborn with no explanation still remains with her. But she is grateful that she at least lived to tell the tale. Melissa added, "I lived to complain,” Borton said. “George Floyd didn’t."
Another incident that took place in 2013 also showed Chauvin's overreactive behavior, and it involved a group of teenagers who were doing engaging in some typical teen behavior.
Driving around and playing with Nerf Guns, four teenagers had one of the biggest scares of their lives when one of their darts was fired out of the window, reported The New York Times. That is when Chauvin and another officer showed up and suddenly, the teenagers had guns pointed at them. The officers yelled at them with a stream of swear words and were told not to move or give any reason for the officers to shoot them, recalled Kristofer Bergh, who was 17 back then.
Kristofer revealed that he would never forget Chauvin or the words he said that day. "Most of you will be 18 by the end of the year," Chauvin told them when he let the teenagers go. "That means you’ll be old enough for ‘big boy jail.'"
Noah McGurran-Hanson, who was also one of the four teenagers recalled, "He was overly aggressive and not understanding that we were just kids. He was treating us like we had been tried and convicted."
During his service in the Minneapolis police force, 44-year-old Chauvin has racked up 22 complaints and internal investigations against him, which is quite a high number when compared to his peers.
While most officers get about one or two complaints in seven years, Chauvin got 22 of them in 19 years. Dave Bicking, a board member of Communities United Against Police Brutality said, "His numbers should have definitely raised alarm with the department and triggered a review." Perhaps, if the officers responsible for tracking such counts and behavior of cops in check had noticed that something was off with this man, George Floyd may have still been alive. Hopefully, his death that has raised many serious questions will not go in vain.