June 19, 2020 / 3:27 PM / 14 days ago

Fact check: Derek Chauvin is not a registered Democrat, among other claims

Posts shared on Facebook and Instagram claim that Derek Chauvin was “a registered Democrat, working for a Democrat police chief… in a Democrat controlled city, in a Democrat controlled state” and that he was “protected by a Democrat controlled union.” The post also says that Chauvin had 18 complaints against him and was “let off multiple times by a Democrat prosecutor, now Democrat Senator and failed Democrat presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.” The claims made in this post are partly false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Examples of such posts can be found here , here , and here .

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder for the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 (  here ), is a registered Republican. Using the date of birth and address listed on the criminal complaint against Chauvin for Floyd’s death ( available here ), Reuters found that Chauvin was not registered to vote in Minnesota, according to the state’s voter registration search ( here ).

Reuters did find, however, that Chauvin is registered to vote in the state of Florida, where he owns another home, by entering his name and date of birth into Florida’s voter information lookup site ( here ). The site lists his address in Windemere, a town in Orange County, where two women were arrested May 29 “on criminal mischief charges after throwing paint on the front door of Derek Chauvin’s home”, according to the Miami Herald ( here ).

Search results on the Florida voter information lookup site list Chauvin’s party affiliation as the “Republican Party of Florida” and his voter status as “Active” ( here ).

Reuters could not confirm whether Medaria Arradondo, the chief of the Minneapolis police ( here ) is a registered Democrat. Doing so would require knowledge of Arradondo’s current voting address and date of birth.

The claim that Arradondo was “voted into office by Democrat voters,” however, is false. The police chief is not voted into office, but rather appointed by the mayor. Former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, a Democrat, appointed Arradondo in 2017 ( here , here ).

Reuters could not corroborate the claim that Chauvin’s police union, the Minneapolis Police Federation, is “Democrat controlled.” Union president Lt. Bob Kroll, however, spoke at a rally for Donald Trump in Minneapolis on Oct. 10, 2019 ( here ). During the rally Kroll told the crowd, “(Mayor Jacob Frey) said the President wasn’t welcome but the Police Federation of Minneapolis begs to differ.” Ahead of Trump’s appearance, the Minneapolis Police Federation had also sold “Cops for Trump” T-shirts on its website ( here ). Reuters reached out to the Minneapolis Police Federation to confirm whether it officially endorses political candidates; it did not respond by the time of this fact check's publication.

The claim that Minneapolis is a “Democrat-controlled city” is true, as the mayor is member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the city council is majority Democrat ( here , here ).

The claim that Minnesota is a “Democrat-controlled state” is partly true. While Governor Tim Walz is a Democrat and the State House is majority Democrat, the State Senate is majority Republican ( here , here , here ). U.S. Senators for Minnesota Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are both Democrat (here) while out of eight Representatives, three are Republican (here).

According to New York Times reporting, at least 17 misconduct complaints were raised against Chauvin during his two-decade career with the Minneapolis Police Department (here).

Speculation that Amy Klobuchar, the senior U.S. Senator and former candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, declined to press charges against Chauvin in 2006 arose in the days following Floyd’s death. Klobuchar previously served as the top prosecutor for the Minnesota county that includes Minneapolis. Some black advocates said recently that Klobuchar’s record on police misconduct should disqualify her from consideration as Biden’s running mate in the upcoming election. “Amy Klobuchar is an absolute no-go,” said Keith Williams, chairman of the Democratic Party Black Caucus in Michigan. Klobuchar has ruled herself out of consideration as Biden’s VP, urging him to choose a woman of color instead.

Derek Chauvin was involved in a fatal shooting in 2006, when Klobuchar was county attorney. The senator said on MSNBC that reports she declined to prosecute him were “a lie” because the decision was left to her successor after her election to the Senate. She also defended her record, saying African-American incarceration rates dropped during her tenure. The county attorney’s office confirmed in a statement that Klobuchar had no role in the 2006 case (here).

VERDICT:

Partly false. Derek Chauvin is a registered Republican. The rest of the post makes a mixture of true and partly false claims.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  .    

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