Chauvin pleads guilty to federal charges over Floyd’s death

ST. Paul, Minn. (AP) – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of George Floyd’s civil rights violation, preventing a trial but potentially prolonging the time he has been behind bars for a state conviction.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted this spring of murder and manslaughter for pinning his knee to Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020, arrested because the Black man said he was breathless. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in that case.

Federal charges allege Chauvin disenfranchised Floyd by kneeling on his neck when he was handcuffed and failing to resist.

Chauvin appeared in person Wednesday to change his plea hearing in an orange short-sleeved prison shirt and was led in and out of court in handcuffs. He said “Guilty, your honor” to confirm his plea in the death of Floyd and an unrelated 2017 case, while also admitting he was guilty of the accused’s actions. tie.

With his pardon and alleged good behavior, Chauvin is expected to actually serve his prison sentence of about 15 years behind bars. Any federal sentence would be imposed at the same time as the state sentence, and defendants serving about 85 percent of federal sentences are deemed to be in good faith. That means if the judge gives Chauvin the requested maximum 25-year term, he will likely serve about six years and three months out of his state sentence.

Judge Paul Magnuson did not set a sentencing date.

Three other former officers – Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — was indicted on federal charges along with Chauvin earlier this year. They are still on trial early next year on those charges, with a state trial still due.

Floyd’s arrest and death, which was captured on cellphone video by a bystander, sparked massive protests across the country calling for an end to racial inequality and police mistreatment. close to Blacks.

As part of the plea agreement, Chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating the rights of a The boy was 14 years old then During a 2017 arrest, he held the boy’s neck, hit the boy’s head with a flashlight, and pillowed his neck and upper back while he lay on his stomach, handcuffed and unresisting.

Several members of Floyd’s family were present, as was the then-teenager who was involved in the 2017 arrest, according to a pool reporter. As they left the courtroom, Floyd’s brother Philonise told Chauvin’s 2017 victim: “It’s a good day for justice.”

Nine people showed up to support Chauvin, including family members. He waved and smiled at them as he entered and left the courtroom, according to the general report.

Later, George Floyd’s grandson, Brandon Williams, called Chauvin a “monster” who should have been caught in the 2017 incident.

“If he was held accountable for what he did in 2917 to that minor, then George Floyd would still be here,” Williams said. “Today he had a chance to blow kisses and hugs into his family. We cannot do that”.

An attorney for Floyd’s family, Jeff Storms, said they plan to travel to Minneapolis later in the day to support the family of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man who was fatally shot in a mid-traffic stop. Chauvin’s status test. The police officer in that case, Kim Potter, on trial for manslaughter.

Floyd’s arrest and death, captured on cellphone video by a bystander, sparked massive nationwide protests calling for an end to racial inequality and police mistreatment. close to Blacks.

To bring federal charges of police-related deaths, prosecutors must believe that an officer acted in “the color of the law,” or government power, and knowingly deprived someone’s constitutional right. That is a high legal standard. An accident, bad judgment, or simple negligence of the officer is not enough to support federal charges. Prosecutors must prove the officer knew what he was doing was wrong at the time but still did it.

According to evidence in the state lawsuit against Chauvin, Kueng and Lane helped restrain 46-year-old Floyd while he was on the ground – Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held Floyd’s feet. Thao prevented the people around and did not allow them to interfere during 9 1/2 minutes of restraint.

All four former officers have been widely charged in federal court for disqualifying Floyd from acting under government authority.

In a 2017 case involving a then 14-year-old boy, Chauvin was accused of depriving the boy, who was handcuffed and not resisted, the right to be excused from unreasonable force when he held his throat, beat him little. head with a flashlight and keep your knees on the boy’s neck and upper back while he is in the prone position.

According to a police report from that 2017 encounter, Chauvin wrote that the teen resisted arrest and after the teenager, whom he described as 6 feet 2 tall and weighed about 240 pounds, handcuffed, Chauvin “used his body weight to pin” him to the floor. The boy had a bleeding ear and needed two stitches.

That encounter was one of several mentioned in state court filings that prosecutors said showed Chauvin used tethers to the neck or head and upper torso seven times prior to the incident. In 2014, including four times state prosecutors said he went too far and kept restraints “beyond indicating when such force is needed in situations.” “

Three other former officers are still expected to appear in court on federal charges in January, and they face state trial for abetting and abetting in March. Chauvin pleads guilty to federal charges over Floyd’s death

Dais Johnston

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