NewsCrime and Courts


Derek Chauvin expected to plead guilty in federal civil rights case

Posted at 3:11 PM, Dec 13, 2021

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in the death of George Floyd, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday in the federal civil rights case against him, according to a scheduling entry on the court docket.

The federal charges were brought by the Justice Department in May, several weeks after he was convicted in state court on murder and manslaughter charges in a killing that prompted worldwide protests for racial justice and police reform. The federal indictment alleges Chauvin and three other fired officers deprived Floyd of his civil rights under color of law, meaning while acting in their capacity as police officers.

Chauvin is accused of willfully depriving Floyd of the constitutional right to be protected from illegal search and seizure, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by a police officer. It says Chauvin did so by pinning Floyd to the ground with a knee on his neck as he was handcuffed and not resisting, resulting in Floyd's death.

Chauvin previously pleaded not guilty to the charges of aiding and abetting deprivation of rights under color of law, and deprivation of rights under color of law. It is not clear yet as to whether he will be changing his plea in one or both of the counts. The change of plea hearing was submitted on the court's docket and set for Wednesday morning in federal court in St. Paul.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the change of plea entry.

The three other officers charged in the federal indictment, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, are also awaiting trial on state charges of aiding and abetting in Floyd's death.

In April a jury found Chauvin guilty of all three counts he was facing in the death of George Floyd — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — for which he has been sentenced to 22 and a 1/2 yearsin prison.

Court records do not indicate whether Chauvin will change his plea in the second federal case against him, which charges him with deprivation of civil rights under color of law for a 2017 incident involving a 14-year-old boy, whom Chauvin allegedly struck in the head with a flashlight and pinned to the ground with a knee on his neck and back during an arrest. The other three officers were not involved in that case.