Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Thursday for violating George Floyd’s constitutional rights, a year after a state court sentenced him to life in prison for killing Floyd during an arrest.
Chauvin pled guilty to federal civil rights charges in December in the United States District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota, avoiding a second trial but virtually definitely extending his sentence in prison.
Chauvin, who is white, said he violated Floyd’s right not to be subjected to “unreasonable seizure” by squatting on the restrained Black man’s neck for more than 9 minutes in a murder filmed on cellphone footage that shocked people all over the globe.
Chauvin was previously sentenced to 22-1/2 years in jail by a state court for willful second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. In Minnesota, those condemned to jail for crimes are normally freed on parole after completing two-thirds of their sentence.
Chauvin entered a guilty plea to federal charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to serve between 20 and 25 years in federal prison.
He stated for the first time in that deal that he was responsible for Floyd’s death.
Floyd was shown on recordings crying for his life before collapsing under Chauvin’s knee. Floyd was unable to breathe due to the police confinement, according to a medical examiner.
Federal prosecutors have requested that Chauvin be sentenced to 25 years in prison, which would run concurrently with the state term.
Floyd’s death ignited one of the largest protest movements in US history, with daily marches to condemn racism and violence in US enforcement. In May 2020, Chauvin was assisting three colleagues in the arrest of Floyd on suspicion of using a forged $20 money to purchase smokes.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung, and Thomas Lane, the three other former police officers who assisted in Floyd’s arrest, were convicted guilty of breaching Floyd’s rights in the same federal court in February. They have yet to be assigned a sentence date.