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Derek Chauvin pleads guilty to violating George Floyd's civil rights

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights. (Reuters)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights, withdrawing his earlier ‘not-guilty’ plea.

Chauvin, 45, entered his guilty plea in a federal court in Minnesota. 

Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence him to 25 years in prison, which would run concurrent to his state sentence, adding on about 2 years, reports said.

A notice sent out Monday by the electronic filing system at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis was an early sign that a defendant is planning to plead guilty.

Chauvin, a White man, has already been convicted of state murder and manslaughter charges for knocking down Floyd, a Black man, on a street in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, which led to his death.

He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in that case by the Hennepin County District Court in June.

Good morning from the federal courthouse in St. Paul, where Derek Chauvin is expected to plead guilty to violating George Floyd's civil rights.

Mr. Chauvin was already sentenced to prison for 22.5 years for murder. He's been held in a 10x10 cell for 23 hours a day since April.

— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) December 15, 2021

Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence, or 15 years, before he is eligible for supervised release.

While the verdict was seen by some as a landmark rebuke of police brutalities against Black Americans, but the Floyd family, who expected a maximum sentence for Chauvin, was far from satisfied.

Chauvin and three other former officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were set to go to trial in late January on federal charges alleging they willfully violated Floyd's rights.

The information sent out Monday gives no indication that the other officers intend to plead guilty.

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.

Derek Chauvin now in a St Paul federal courtroom where is expected to plead guilty to violating George Floyd’s civil rights. He is dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and is masked

— Holly Bailey (@hollybdc) December 15, 2021

Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.

Floyd's arrest and death, which was caught in a cellphone video, triggered widespread protests across the US with protesters calling for an end to racism and police mistreatment of Black people. It reignited the 'Black Lives Matter' movement in the US.

All four officers were charged broadly in federal court with depriving Floyd of his rights while acting under government authority, but the federal indictment broke down the counts even further.

Federal prosecutors tell judge former Mpls Officer Derek Chauvin will plead guilty to depriving George Floyd of civil rights. Other federal charges stemming from a separate incident will be dismissed, as part of plea agreement. He will serve federal time.

— John Croman (@JohnCroman) December 15, 2021

A count against Chauvin alleged that he violated Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and from unreasonable force by a police officer.

Specifically, the indictment says Chauvin kept his left knee on Floyd's neck even though he was handcuffed and not resisting. The indictment alleges Thao and Kueng were aware Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck, even after Floyd became unresponsive, and "willfully failed to intervene to stop Defendant Chauvin's use of unreasonable force."

All four are charged with willfully depriving Floyd of liberty without due process, including the right to be free from "deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs."

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