Chauvin changes plea for violating George Floyd’s civil rights

ST. PAUL, Minn. (NBC) – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin formally changed his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” Wednesday on federal charges of depriving George Floyd of his civil rights, related to Floyd’s murder in May 2020.

Chauvin, who is currently serving a state prison sentence following his conviction for Floyd’s murder, was charged in May 2021 with two separate federal counts of “deprivation of rights under color of law.”

Federal prosecutors told the judge that as part of a plea agreement, federal charges will be dismissed in a separate incident involving a neck restraint used on a teenager in 2017.

Prosecutors said they will ask for a 300-month sentence, or about 25 years served in a federal prison, which would run concurrently with Chauvin’s state prison sentence. A judge will issue the final sentence at a later hearing following a pre-sentence investigation.

The federal plea agreement includes stipulations that Chauvin never again serve as a licensed law enforcement officer and that he must disclose his financial assets.

In court, Judge Paul A. Magnusson told Chauvin that his plea means he waives his rights to a trial and he will have limited options to appeal.

In the original federal charges, the first count alleged violation of George Floyd’s constitutionally protected right to be free from unreasonable seizure and use of force when Chauvin held his knee across Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed on the ground.

The second count alleged that Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis P.D. officers— Tou Thao, j. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane—deprived George Floyd of his right to “liberty without due process of law” by failing to provide medical care.

Thao and Kueng are charged separately with depriving George Floyd of the right to be free from unreasonable seizure by “willfully” failing to intervene while Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

All four men were scheduled to go to trial together in federal court in January. The case is now expected to move forward for the other three former officers without Chauvin.

Thao, Kueng and Lane had previously asked to be tried separately from Chauvin but a federal judge denied that request.

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