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Former Officer Derek Chauvin Pleads Guilty to Violating George Floyd’s Civil Rights


FILE - Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis June 25, 2021.

Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted in the May 2020 murder of George Floyd pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25 of last year in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District Court. In June he was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison while also facing separate federal civil rights charges in connection with Floyd's death.

Chauvin’s guilty plea means he will not go to trial in federal court next month, but he could still spend additional time in prison when a judge sentences him on the civil rights violations at a later date.

Floyd, a Black man, was killed when Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes as he was handcuffed, not resisting and repeatedly saying that he could not breathe.

Floyd's death, captured on cellphone video by a bystander, inspired global protests against institutional racism and police practices, particularly in the United States.

Chauvin pleaded guilty Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota. to two counts of depriving Floyd of his rights by kneeling on his neck and then failing to provide medical care.

Chauvin changed his plea to guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors to also plead guilty to violating the rights of a then-14-year-old boy, also African American, during another troublesome arrest in 2017.

Chauvin held the boy by the throat, hit him in the head with a flashlight and pinned his knee on the boy’s neck and upper back while he was lying face down, handcuffed and not resisting.

Defendants in the midwestern state of Minnesota with good behavior serve two-thirds of their sentence in prison and one-third on supervised release. That formula projects Chauvin would serve 15 years in prison on the state charges and 7 1/2 years on parole.

FILE - This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows from left, former Minneapolis police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.
FILE - This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows from left, former Minneapolis police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Considering Wednesday’s plea agreement, Chauvin could serve from 27 to more than 33 years in prison on the federal charges under sentencing guidelines, according to Mark Osler, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.

Three other former Minneapolis policemen, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, are scheduled to go on trial early next year after being indicted on the federal charges with Chauvin earlier this year.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.

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