Officer Derek Chauvin Pleads Guilty in Death of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, in a courtroom in June, when he was sentenced to prison after being convicted of murdering George Floyd. Credit…Court TV, via Reuters

Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was convicted this spring of state murder and manslaughter charges in George Floyd’s May 25, 2020, death, and was sentenced to 22 1/2 years. Chauvin admitted for the first time that he did keep his knee on Floyd’s neck and kept it on even after Floyd became unresponsive.

In his federal plea Wednesday, Chauvin admitted he willfully deprived Floyd of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure, including unreasonable force by a police officer, by kneeling on Floyd’s neck even though he was handcuffed and not resisting.

Chauvin appeared in person for the change of plea hearing in an orange short-sleeve prison shirt and was led into and out of the court in handcuffs. He said “Guilty, your honor” to confirm his pleas, and acknowledged that he committed the acts alleged.

Through a combination of good behavior and parole, Chauvin’s state sentence is likely to amount to 15 years behind bars. That means if Chauvin gets the 25 years prosecutors want, he would likely spend 21 years and three months in prison — or a little more than six years beyond his state sentence.

The other three former officers are still expected to go to trial on federal charges in January, and they face state trial on aiding and abetting counts in March.

– Ella Breedlove