Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin appeared before a federal judge Wednesday to plead guilty to violating George Floyd’s civil rights last year when he knelt on the man’s neck for more than nine minutes, until he died.
Chauvin, who was convicted in state court earlier this year of second degree murder, also pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy four years ago during an arrest. Chauvin hit the boy with flashlight, held him by the throat, and knelt on him for 17 minutes, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
In return for the guilty pleas, prosecutors recommended that Chauvin, 45, be sentenced to 25 years in prison, far less than the life in prison he faced if convicted in trial, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The pleas avoid what were sure to be two more lengthy trials.
The guilty pleas also answer a motion by the other three police officers charged in the Floyd case — Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 — who had asked that their trials be separated from Chauvin. Lane, Kueng, and Thao still face back-to-back federal and state trials beginning next year.
Their joint state trial was delayed until March of next year because Judge Peter Cahill wanted the furor around Chavin’s trial to lessen and to give the federal trial precedence.
Chauvin is serving 22 1/2 years for his state conviction. Federal prosecutors recommended that he serve his federal sentence concurrently with the state sentence.
Bob Bennett, the attorney for the 14-year-old victim — who is now 18 — said his client is “happy” that Chauvin “pled guilty and he’s agreed to a sentence that, any way you slice it, will get him more than the state’s sentence.”
“It’s important because it shows the long-term and serial violations of the constitutional rights of people that Chauvin engaged in,” Bennett said.
After Chauvin’s arrest for Floyd’s May 25, 2020, murder, it was revealed he had 17 complaints against his behavior as an officer, with only one of them resulting in discipline. Instead, he was promoted to a training officer position. The lack of action on those complaints prompted the US Justice Department to begin an investigation into the practices of the Minneapolis Police Department.
A date for Chauvin’s sentencing has yet to be set.
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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin/police handout and George Floyd/Facebook]