The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association is suing a Wright County man, alleging that he spoke falsely on TV about his role in providing security for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his attorney during Chauvin's murder trial.
The association, which represents more than 10,000 police officers, accused Scott D. Yelle of violating two nondisclosure agreements when he appeared on the TV show "Inside Edition" on Sept. 13. The organization provided legal representation for Chauvin and hired Yelle.
"Yelle … purported to be, and held himself out to be, a professional and discreet personal protection worker," according to the lawsuit, filed last week in Hennepin County District Court.
The suit goes on to allege that Yelle "made statements [on TV], many of which were false" which "have damaged" the MPPOA.
The suit also names P1 Protection Services LLC and Recon Protection LLC as defendants. Yelle was the managing partner of P1 and worked for Recon.
The MPPOA is asking a judge to issue an order compelling Yelle to obey the nondisclosure agreements and to award the organization $50,000 or more — a common placeholder amount in civil suits — pending "an amount to be determined at trial."
"Based on the repeated willful breaches of the [agreements], defendant Yelle can be expected to continue to violate the terms of the nondisclosure agreements, causing plaintiffs irreparable harm," according to the suit.
Yelle could not be reached for comment Saturday.
The police association said Saturday that Yelle was assigned to only transport Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, and that it cut its ties with Yelle four months ago over posts about the trial on Facebook and other social media channels.
Chauvin was found guilty this spring of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last year.
"Yelle never spent time alone with Chauvin," said MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters. "Yelle's account in ["Inside Edition"] is 98 percent false."
In an "Inside Edition" segment on YouTube, the show's reporter appears in a "top secret" neighborhood in Wisconsin where Chauvin allegedly was housed during trial.
The reporter says Chauvin was transported to Minneapolis via a "fleet of bulletproof SUVs" to thwart assassination attempts.
Yelle is shown opening the hatchback of a black SUV and displaying for the reporter a canister of Mace, a gas mask, a bullet-resistant vest and other items while discussing security measures.
"This was some agitators' Super Bowl," Yelle said.
Yelle also is shown talking with the reporter in a suburban neighborhood with safe houses where Chauvin could be taken in an emergency. He tells the reporter that Chauvin went on outings and shopping trips while in disguise, and expressed remorse once when he told Yelle, "You can take me back a year."
According to the suit, "Yelle claimed to have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Chauvin's state of mind and level of remorse from time they spent together alone — matters that, if true, could have a substantial effect on future legal issues for Mr. Chauvin."
Chauvin has appealed his conviction in state court and faces pending charges in federal court in connection with Floyd's death.
The suit alleges that Yelle also breached the nondisclosure agreements in April when he posted on LinkedIn, a social media network, that he "was in charge of the private security detail for Derek Chauvin, his defense team & their families." The statement "vastly overstated" Yelle's role, which was mostly as Nelson's driver, the suit says.
According to Peters and the suit, Yelle's "non-truths" began before Chauvin's trial when he misrepresented his licensing status in Minnesota. P1 Protection Services "lacked a sufficient license" to transport people to secure areas of the courthouse, the suit says.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708