Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the civil rights of George Floyd. Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 25 years in federal prison.
Chauvin admitted in federal court that he held his left knee across Mr. Floyd’s neck, back, and shoulder and his right knee on Mr. Floyd’s back and arm, to keep him restrained, prone, and handcuffed on the ground for approximately 10 minutes.
“Defendant Chauvin further admitted that he continued to use force even though he was aware that Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, talking and moving, and even though he was aware that Mr. Floyd had lost consciousness and a pulse,” the Justice Department said in a press release. It continued:
Defendant Chauvin admitted that his willful use of unreasonable force resulted in Mr. Floyd’s bodily injury and death because his actions impaired Mr. Floyd’s ability to obtain and maintain sufficient oxygen to sustain Mr. Floyd’s life.
In the plea agreement, Chauvin also admitted that he violated Mr. Floyd’s rights by failing to provide medical aid while Mr. Floyd was lying on the ground, in serious medical need.
Chauvin also pleaded guilty to federal charges that he violated the civil rights of an unnamed 14-year-old child in 2017. He admitted that he held the child by the throat and struck the child multiple times in the head with a flashlight, resulting in bodily injury.
Like he did less than three years later to George Floyd, Chauvin admitted that he also held his knee on the child’s neck, shoulders, and upper back for between 15 and 16 minutes, even though the child was face-down on the floor, handcuffed, and not resisting.
Outside the courthouse, Brandon Williams, one of Mr. Floyd’s nephews, said prosecutors should have charged Chauvin in 2017 for assaulting the child, who sat in the courtroom during the proceedings.
“Had he been held accountable for what he did in 2017 to that minor, George Floyd would still be here,” Mr. Williams told The New York Times.
Chauvin’s federal trial was scheduled to begin next month. A conviction could have resulted in a life sentence, the Times reports.
As a result of the plea agreement, Chauvin now faces a sentence between 20 and 25 years in a federal prison, the Justice Department said. He will be sentenced at a later date.
The agreement also prohibits Chauvin, 45, from working in any law enforcement capacity ever again.
Three other former police officers who were with Chauvin when he killed George Floyd are still facing federal and state charges.