The wife of a former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, has filed from divorce and said she's “grieving” with the slain man’s family.
An attorney for Kellie Chauvin announced her decision to dissolve her marriage to Derek Chauvin in a post on social media.
“She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy,” the post from the Sekula Law Offices said. “She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin.”
While the couple share no children together, Kellie has asked that her children from a previous marriage, her parents and her extended family “be given safety and privacy during this difficult time.”
Derek Chauvin, who is white, is facing charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after video surfaced showing the former police officer with his knee on neck of Floyd, who is black, for more than eight minutes despite the 46-year-old’s repeated pleas that he could not breathe. Floyd lost consciousness and was later pronounced dead.
Floyd's death – the latest in a series of killings of black people, including Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky – has set off waves of protests, and in some cases riots, across the country. Chauvin's use of force has been roundly condemned by both activists and many in the law enforcement community. Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd's family, has called for the the charges against Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder.
Kellie Chauvin—who competed in 2018 for the title of Mrs. Minnesota—once described her husband as a “softie.”
“He’s such a gentleman,” she said in 2018, according to the Associated Press. “He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.”
Kellie, who was born in Laos before immigrating to the United States as a child, said she met Chauvin while working at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
By 2018, the couple had been married for eight years.
Kellie was previously married at just 17 after her parents had picked out a husband for her.
“As a Hmong woman, if you’re not married by 18, then your parents think that nobody will marry you,” she said in 2018.
The couple went on to have two children together, but Kellie said the marriage was abusive and she later decided to leave her first husband and file for divorce. The man died a short time later.
She decided to move her family to Minnesota and got a job at the Hennepin County Medical Center after earning her associate’s degree in radiology.
She would later cross paths with Chauvin, who was recently moved to a maximum-security prison as he faces charges of manslaughter and third-degree murder for Floyd’s death.
After his arrest on Friday, Chauvin was initially booked into the Ramsey County jail but was later transferred to the Hennepin County jail on Sunday afternoon, according to local station KSTP.
Later that same day, he was sent to the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections describes the facility as its “highest custody level” on its website. The facility is mostly used to house inmates in maximum security and close custody because “some of the inmates need a higher level of security.”
A spokesperson from the DOC told Oxygen.com in a statement that the decision to move Chauvin was related to his safety.
"The move to DOC custody was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure he is safely held and after concern about space in the jail due to large numbers of arrests related to the unrest over the last few nights," the statement said.
Chauvin is currently being held in administrative segregation in the prison, apart from the general population, authorities said.
DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell said Sunday night that it is not uncommon for inmates of this sort to be transferred to state prison.
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was also placed in a state prison after his arrest for the death of Justine Damond, he said.
Three other police officers connected to Floyd's arrest have been fired from the police department. Derek Chauvin is the only officer, to date, to face criminal charges in the death.
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