Four officials in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office disagreed with the decision to charge Derek Chauvin’s fellow officers for their roles in the death of George Floyd, a Monday court filing claims.
This allegation is based on information contained in a sex discrimination complaint filed against County Attorney Mike Freeman by Amy Sweasy, one of the office’s top prosecutors.
According to Sweasy, Freeman made “sexist remarks” about a female employee during a June 2019 meeting and said he hires women because “we need someone to keep our feet warm at night.”
“In or about June 2020, I disagreed with CA (county attorney) about the charging in a case, told CA I believed the charges he recommended violated professional and ethical rules and withdrew from the case,” Sweasy says in her complaint.
Three other male assistant attorneys also expressed their disagreement with Freeman and “refused to work on the same case,” Sweasy claims.
“After I stated my disagreement with CA and reported his discrimination, he treated me less favorably than similarly situated male employees,” Sweasy continues. “CA engaged in discrimination and reprisal against me which included, but was not limited to, ostracizing me, treating me hostilely, removing job duties and refusing to assign me to the role for which I was trained.”
The Hennepin County Board approved a $190,000 settlement with Sweasy earlier this month.
In Monday court filings, attorneys for Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng said Sweasy was referring to the George Floyd case.
“On May 20, 2022, a complaint went public relating to The Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman harassing and retaliating against prosecuting attorney Amy Sweasy — who is regarded as one of the top police use-of-force prosecuting attorneys in the country — after she disagreed for wanting to charge Mr. Thao, Mr. Lane, and Mr. Kueng for their involvement,” Thao’s attorney writes.
“The complaint highlights the charging decision of Mr. Thao, Mr. Kueng, and Mr. Lane, which Ms. Sweasy told Mr. Freeman ‘violated professional and ethical rules’ and so she withdrew from the case,” he continues.
Freeman’s office declined to comment when contacted by Alpha News.
Floyd died in police custody on May 25, 2020. Since he died in Minneapolis, the case fell under Freeman’s jurisdiction. On May 29, Freeman announced charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter against Chauvin. Two days later, Freeman asked Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to join the case.
Then on June 3, Freeman and Ellison announced a more serious charge of second-degree murder against Chauvin during a joint press conference. They also announced charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter against Kueng, Thao, and Thomas Lane, who will stand trial June 13.
Attorneys for Thao and Kueng want the court to either relocate or delay the trial, citing the impossibility of a fair trial in Hennepin County.
Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in April 2021.