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Chauvin pleads guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights

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

Chauvin, 45, appeared in U.S. District Court in Minnesota to plead guilty to the federal charges against him, including two counts that the then-police officer barred Floyd of his rights when he knelt on his neck as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and not resisting, according to The Associated Press. Chauvin then did not provide Floyd with medical care.

Chauvin had initially pleaded not guilty to violating Floyd’s constitutional rights during the deadly incident but signaled in court documents filed Monday that he planned to switch his plea.

The former Minneapolis police officer will not have to go on trial for the charges against him now that he pleaded guilty, according to the AP.

The change of plea comes nearly eight months after a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in the case of Floyd’s death. He was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison in June.

Prosecutors requested that Chauvin face 25 years in prison for his guilty plea of violating Floyd’s civil rights, which would run simultaneously with his June sentence for the murder of Floyd, according to Reuters.

A sentencing date, however, has not yet been set.

Chauvin and three other police officers in May 2020 arrested Chauvin on suspicion that he had used a counterfeit $20 bill. The encounter between Floyd and the officers escalated, leading Chauvin to kneel on his neck for more than nine minutes. In that time, Floyd became unresponsive, and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

A federal grand jury indicted Chauvin and the three other police officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — in May of this year for violating Floyd’s civil rights during the 2020 encounter.

Thao and Kueng were charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin from using unreasonable force against Floyd, which led to his death. They both pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.

Chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating a Black teenager’s civil rights in 2017, according to the AP, which was a reversal from his not guilty plea in September. The indictment accused Chauvin of hitting a then-14-year-old boy with a flashlight and kneeling on his neck and upper back while the teenager was handcuffed and not resisting arrest.

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, spoke to the boy from the 2017 incident in the courtroom, telling him “It’s a good day for justice,” according to a pool reporter cited by the AP.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that while “nothing can repair the harm caused by such acts,” the Department of Justice “ is committed to holding accountable those who violate the Constitution, and to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans.”

Updated 4:49 p.m.

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