ALL NEWS

Chauvin pleads guilty to federal charge in Floyd’s death

Dec 15, 2021, 10:12 AM
Chauvin guilty...
FILE - Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis June 25, 2021. Chauvin has pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights. Chauvin’s plea Wednesday, Dec. 15, means he will not face a federal trial in January, though he could end up spending more years behind bars.(Court TV via AP, Pool, File)
(Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, averting a trial but likely extending the time he is already spending behind bars on a state conviction.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted this spring of state murder and manslaughter charges for pinning his knee against Floyd’s neck during a May 25, 2020, arrest as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in that case.

The federal charge alleged that Chauvin deprived Floyd of his rights by kneeling on his neck as he was handcuffed and not resisting.

Chauvin appeared in person Wednesday for the change of plea hearing in an orange short-sleeve prison shirt and was led into and out of the court in handcuffs. He said “Guilty, your honor” to confirm his pleas in Floyd’s death and an unrelated 2017 case, and acknowledged that he was guilty of the acts alleged.

With parole and presuming good behavior, Chauvin is expected to actually serve about 15 years of his state sentence behind bars. Any federal sentence would run at the same time as the state sentence, and defendants serve about 85 percent of federal sentences presuming good behavior. That means if the judge gives Chauvin the maximum 25 years requested, he would likely serve about six years and three months beyond his state sentence.

Judge Paul Magnuson didn’t set a date for sentencing.

Three other former officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were indicted on federal charges alongside Chauvin earlier this year. They are still on course for trial early next year on those charges, with a state trial still to come.

Floyd’s arrest and death, which a bystander captured on cellphone video, sparked mass protests nationwide calling for an end to racial inequality and police mistreatment of Black people.

As part of the plea deal, Chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating the rights of a then-14-year-old boy during a 2017 arrest in which he held the boy 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 prone, handcuffed and not resisting.

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

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

George Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, afterward called Chauvin a “monster” who should have been arrested in the 2017 incident.

“Had he been held accountable for what he did in 2917 to that minor, George Floyd will still be here,” Williams said. “Today he had a chance to blow kisses and give air hugs to his family. We can’t do that.”

An attorney for Floyd’s family, Jeff Storms, said they planned to head to Minneapolis later in the day to support the family of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in the midst of Chauvin’s state trial. The police officer in that case, Kim Potter, is on trial on manslaughter charges.

Floyd’s arrest and death, which a bystander captured on cellphone video, sparked mass protests nationwide that called for an end to racial inequality and police mistreatment of Black people.

To bring federal charges in deaths involving police, prosecutors must believe an officer acted under the “color of law,” or government authority, and willfully deprived someone of their constitutional rights. That’s a high legal standard. An accident, bad judgment or simple negligence on the officer’s part isn’t enough to support federal charges. Prosecutors have to prove the officer knew what he was doing was wrong in that moment but did it anyway.

According to evidence in the state case against Chauvin, Kueng and Lane helped restrain the 46-year-old Floyd as he was on the ground — Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held down Floyd’s legs. Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.

All four former officers were charged broadly in federal court with depriving Floyd of his rights while acting under government authority.

In the 2017 case involving the then-14-year-old boy, Chauvin is charged with depriving the boy, who was handcuffed and not resisting, of his right to be free of unreasonable force when he held him 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 in a prone position.

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

That encounter was one of several mentioned in state court filings that prosecutors said showed Chauvin had used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times before dating back to 2014, including four times state prosecutors said he went too far and held the restraints “beyond the point when such force was needed under the circumstances.”

The other three former officers are still expected to go to trial on federal charges in January, and they face state trial on aiding and abetting counts in March.

___

This story has been corrected throughout to show that Chauvin plea in Floyd’s death was to a single charge, with a second count dismissed.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

Today’s Top Stories

All News

On Saturday, two German soccer fans told CNN that they were asked by security officials at Qatar 20...
Ben Church, CNN

World Cup: Soccer fans stopped by security officials for wearing rainbow-colored items as LGBTQ+ rights issue won’t go away at Qatar 2022

The World Cup is well underway in Qatar, but issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf state won't go away.
19 hours ago
Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home ...
Waverly Golden

Trash can on fire at home in the Cottonwoods, safely extinguished

Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home in the Cottonwoods on Nov. 25. 
19 hours ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
19 hours ago
Image of the fatal crash in Draper on 11/25/22 (Photo courtesy of Utah DPS)...
Chandler Holt

Crash on I-15 in Draper leaves one dead

A Jeep and Toyota Tundra were involved in a crash late Friday night in Draper. The two vehicles were traveling in adjacent lanes on I-15 near 14100 South.
19 hours ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
2 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Chauvin pleads guilty to federal charge in Floyd’s death