George Floyd murder: Former cop Derek Chauvin awaits federal sentencing

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Derek Chauvin at the Minnesota Correctional Facility.
Derek Chauvin at the Minnesota Correctional Facility.
  • Derek Chauvin will be federally sentenced on Thursday for violating the civil rights of George Floyd. 
  • Chauvin pleaded guilty in December in the US District Court in Minnesota
  • A state court has already sentenced Chauvin to 22 years and six months in prison.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is due to be sentenced in federal court on Thursday for violating the civil rights of George Floyd, a year after a state court sent him to prison for more than two decades for murdering Floyd during an arrest.

Chauvin pleaded guilty to the federal civil rights charges in December in the US District Court in Minnesota, a decision that averted a second trial, but almost certainly extended his time behind bars.

Chauvin, who is white, admitted he violated Floyd's right not to face "unreasonable seizure" by kneeling on the handcuffed Black man's neck for more than nine minutes in a murder captured on cellphone video that horrified people around the world.

A state court has already sentenced Chauvin to 22 years and six months in prison for intentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. People sentenced to prison for felonies in Minnesota are usually released on parole after serving two-thirds of their sentence.

Chauvin's guilty plea to the federal charges came as part of an agreement with prosecutors that said he would face between 20 and 25 years in federal prison.

In that agreement, he admitted for the first time that he was to blame for Floyd's death.

Floyd could be seen in videos pleading for his life before falling still on the road beneath Chauvin's knee. A medical examiner ruled the police restraint stopped Floyd from being able to breathe.

ALSO READ | Newly-released video shows US police officers killed unarmed black man in hail of bullets

Federal prosecutors have asked Judge Paul Magnuson to sentence Chauvin to 25 years, a sentence that would run concurrently with the state one.

Floyd's murder sparked one of the biggest protest movements seen in the US, with daily marches to decry racism and brutality in policing. Chauvin was helping three colleagues to arrest Floyd in May 2020 on suspicion Floyd had used a fake $20 bill when buying cigarettes.

The three other former police officers who worked to arrest Floyd — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane — were found guilty in the same federal court in February of violating Floyd's rights. They are yet to receive a sentencing date.

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