Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had been convicted in April of murdering George Floyd in May 2020, an incident that sparked months of nationwide protests and riots, and was sentenced to more than 22 years in state prison.
But Chauvin had also been charged at the federal level with violating Floyd’s civil rights, and the ex-cop pleaded guilty to those additional charges in a federal court hearing Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
He had initially pleaded not guilty in September to the violation of Floyd’s civil rights, as well as to similar federal charges that stemmed from a 2017 incident in which he had allegedly used unreasonable force against a 14-year-old boy.
Federal indictment for civil rights violations
According to the federal indictment handed down by a grand jury in May against Chauvin and the other three former officers involved in Floyd’s death, all four had been charged with “acting under color of law,” or misusing their positions of authority, to willfully violate Floyd’s rights.
Specifically, Chauvin had been charged with violating “Floyd’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer,” as well as his “constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law” and “right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs” for failing to render necessary medical aid.
Separately, the abusive ex-cop was also charged with using unreasonable force against the unnamed 14-year-old in 2017, an incident in which Chauvin was alleged to have grabbed the teen by the throat and struck him repeatedly on the head with a flashlight, causing injury, before restraining the boy prone on the ground for an extended length of time in a similar fashion to how Floyd had been killed.
Plea agreement reached
Per a Department of Justice news release Wednesday, Chauvin ultimately pleaded guilty to the federal charges against him in both of those incidents.
He agreed that he had “used unreasonable and excessive force that resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death, and he acted willfully and in callous and wanton disregard of the consequences to Mr. Floyd’s life.”
The former officer offered up a similar admission of guilt with regard to his actions that “resulted in bodily injury” for the juvenile in 2017.
The release further noted that, per a plea agreement, Chauvin will likely be sentenced to 20-25 years of imprisonment that will be served in a federal facility and that, upon his eventual release, he will be forever ineligible to be employed in any sort of law enforcement capacity.
AG Garland issues statement on Chauvin plea
“Defendant Chauvin has pleaded guilty to two federal civil rights violations, one of which led to the tragic loss of George Floyd’s life,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
“While recognizing that nothing can repair the harm caused by such acts, the Justice Department is committed to holding accountable those who violate the Constitution, and to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans,” the nation’s top law enforcement official added.