Convicted of murdering George Floyd in a state trial, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty Wednesday in a federal case to violating the civil rights of George Floyd and a 14-year-old boy.
On September 4, 2017, Chauvin repeatedly struck a black teenager in the head with his police-issued flashlight while pinning the teen to the wall by the throat. The strikes resulted in a wound near the 14-year-old’s left ear, which required stitches.
According to his plea agreement, Chauvin knelt on the teen’s neck and upper back for between 15 and 16 minutes while the teen was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting. In his incident report, Chauvin omitted that he struck the teen multiple times in the head with his flashlight, grabbed him by the throat, and knelt on his neck and upper back for more than 15 minutes.
In the plea agreement, Chauvin also admitted to violating George Floyd’s civil rights by kneeling on his neck for approximately 10 minutes on May 25, 2020. Despite the fact that Chauvin was notified by his colleagues that Floyd had lost consciousness and no longer had a pulse, Chauvin failed to render medical aid while directly causing Floyd’s death.
In April 2021, Chauvin was convicted in a state trial on one count of second degree manslaughter, one count of second degree murder, and one count of third degree murder for killing George Floyd. In June, Judge Peter Cahill sentenced him to 270 months in prison.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that Chauvin pleaded guilty in federal court to two violations of a federal civil rights statute. He will be sentenced at a hearing to be scheduled at a later date.
“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 stated in a press release. “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.”
“Today, Derek Chauvin took responsibility and admitted his guilt in open court, under penalty of perjury, for depriving George Floyd and a boy, then just 14 years old, of their civil rights,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the murder case against Chauvin, in a statement on Wednesday. “This is important and historic. His admissions mark another important moment of accountability and another step on the road to justice. Although the Floyd family’s loss can never be healed, I hope this historic admission of wrongdoing brings them some comfort. I also hope it brings more trust and healing to the relationship between law enforcement and community.”
According to the plea agreement, defendant Chauvin faces a sentence of between 20- and 25-years imprisonment. Under the terms of the plea agreement, defendant Chauvin will serve his sentence in federal custody and will not be eligible to work in any law enforcement capacity following his release.