Thursday, 16 December 2021

Derek Chauvin Pleads Guilty In George Floyd Civil Rights Case

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights.

Chauvin, 45, is serving a state sentence of more than 22 years for murdering Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man.

On Wednesday, he reversed an earlier not guilty plea on the federal charges as part of a deal with US prosecutors.

The agreement means he will not face trial in January.

It may also result in a federal lighter sentence for Chauvin.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted this spring on murder and manslaughter charges in Minnesota for kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

The killing of Mr Floyd - captured on a bystander's phone camera - sparked global outrage and a wave of demonstrations against racial injustice and police use of force.

The federal charges against Chauvin include two counts for depriving Mr Floyd of his rights by kneeling on his neck as he was in handcuffs, and by failing to provide medical care during the May 2020 arrest.

As part of the plea agreement, Chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating the rights of a then-14-year-old boy during another arrest that took place in 2007. According to the indictment, Chauvin held the boy, who is black, by the throat, hit him in the head with a flashlight and held his knee on the boy's neck and upper back while he was handcuffed and not resisting.

Chauvin, who has appealed his state murder conviction, has been in solitary confinement in a Minnesota prison since April.

The guilty plea on federal charges is likely to extend Chauvin's jail time beyond his existing one. US prosecutors recommended up to 300 months (25 years) in prison for the the civil charges, but the plea agreement would allow Chauvin to serve the two sentences concurrently.

The other officers present on the day of Mr Floyd's arrest - Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - have also been accused of violating Mr Floyd's civil rights. They are scheduled to go on trial in March for state charges that they aided and abetted second-degree murder

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