Weeks after graduation, Mr. Chauvin started as a prep cook at Tinucci’s, a restaurant 10 minutes from home. He enrolled that fall at the local technical college to study “quantity food preparation.”
But Mr. Chauvin decided he wanted a uniform.
He studied law enforcement at a community college; eventually, he would also earn a university degree in law enforcement. After joining the military police, he was deployed to a U.S. Army base in Germany, where he studied for the Minnesota police exam in his spare time. He did not socialize much or drink alcohol.
“He volunteered to be a designated driver for the guys who wanted to go into town at night and have a few beers,” said Jerry Obieglo, a platoon sergeant who supervised Mr. Chauvin.
Back home, in September 2000, at age 24, he applied to the Minneapolis police.
From the beginning, Mr. Chauvin stood out as gung-ho. When he reported for training after the police academy, he showed up in a new white Crown Victoria outfitted to resemble a police car, recalled one officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because talking to the news media could get him fired.
Leaving work, most officers dressed casually. But Mr. Chauvin, who stood ramrod straight like he was still in the military, left in full uniform, his pants pulled higher than most people wore them, his boots polished.
“In a group setting he would never connect and stand there like a small child,” the officer said. He added: “I was put off by his lack of communication skills. You never felt like he was present.”
Mr. Chauvin landed in the Third Precinct, one of the city’s busiest.
The biggest call of his young career came when he was 30, in 2006: Shortly after midnight, he and five other officers pursued a car driven by a man suspected of stabbing two friends. The man soon pointed a sawed-off shotgun at officers, the police said. They shot the man, fatally. Mr. Chauvin received a medal of valor.