Derek Chauvin has pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
The plea deal means Chauvin will avoid another high-profile trial.
The former Minneapolis police officer was convicted in April on murder and manslaughter charges after killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck while arresting him on May 25, 2020. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.
Separate federal charges were also brought against Chauvin. Those were the charges he pleaded guilty to on Wednesday.
He pleaded guilty to one count of violating Floyd’s civil rights and another count of violating a teenage boy’s rights in a completely separate case, The Associated Press reported.
Chauvin appeared in federal court in person. He was in handcuffs and an orange prison jumpsuit, according to the AP.
Chauvin said “Guilty, your honor” to confirm his plea to Judge Paul Magnuson.
The separate charge that was unrelated to Floyd’s death stemmed from a case in which Chauvin had pleaded not guilty in September.
In that case, Chauvin was accused of violating the rights of a 14-year-old boy when he arrested him in 2017. Chauvin was accused of holding the boy by the throat, hitting him in the head with a flashlight and holding his knee on the boy’s neck and upper back.
Several members of Floyd’s family, as well as the boy from the 2017 arrest, were present at Wednesday’s plea hearing. Nine people, including family members, also showed up at the hearing to support Chauvin.
The AP reported that as he left the courtroom, Floyd’s brother Philonise said, “It’s a good day for justice.”
After the hearing, Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, called Chauvin a “monster.”
“Had he been held accountable for what he did in 2017 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.”
Without the plea deal, Chauvin faced the possibility of a life sentence, NBC News reported.
Federal prosecutors at Wednesday’s hearing asked for his sentence to be 20 to 25 years in prison, with five years of supervised probation and an agreement to never work as a police officer again. The federal sentence would be served concurrently with his state sentence.
Magnuson did not set a date for Chauvin’s sentencing.
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