Derek Chauvin to be sentenced on federal charges for violating George Floyd’s civil rights

KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will be sentenced Thursday on federal civil rights charges in the death of George Floyd.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges but in December 2021 he pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights and admitted that he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even after he became unresponsive.

Chauvin’s plea agreement calls for a 20 to 25-year sentence.

In April 2021, Chauvin was found guilty on three counts in Floyd’s death — second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes.

He has already been sentenced to 270 months, minus time served, which equals about 22-and-a-half years in prison.

Former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were also charged for their role in Floyd’s death.

The three of them had pleaded not guilty but were convicted by a jury.

The four former officers were attempting to place Floyd under arrest on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store.

During the encounter, Chauvin held his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed and in a prone position on the pavement, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe before falling unconscious and losing a pulse, according to evidence presented at Chauvin’s state trial. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Thao and Kueng now await a state trial for charges of aiding and abetting in murder and aiding and abetting in manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The two have pleaded not guilty.

The trial has been delayed until Jan. 5, 2023.

Thomas Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in exchange for the dismissal of the top charge against him of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder.

Under the agreement, a sentence of 36 months, or three years in prison, will be recommended by both prosecutors and Lane’s legal team. If he went to trial and was convicted on both counts, he could have faced a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, according to the plea agreement.

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