Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is making headlines once again.
However, this time, he is expected to be pleading guilty in a civil case concerning his violation of George Floyd’s rights. On Monday, December 13, a notice was sent out by the court’s electronic filing system that Chauvin will change his current not guilty plea to guilty in a hearing that has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 15.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin was convicted of state murder and manslaughter charges for murdering George Floyd when he suffocated Floyd with his knee during an arrest. Although Floyd told him that he could not breathe, Chauvin did not release his hold on Floyd. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for the crime.
However, the trial did not end there. Chauvin has been named in a civil suit for violating Floyd’s rights, but he’s not alone. Three other former officers – Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao – are also named in the suit. They will all face a trial in January on federal charges that they violated Floyd’s rights during the arrest.
However, at this time, it’s unclear whether or not the other officers in the case will also enter a guilty plea. Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, is currently involved in a trial concerning the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
Law School Professor Weighs In On The Debate
A Minnesota court scheduled a change of plea hearing for Derek Chauvin’s federal civil rights case.
He and 3 other ex-police previously pled not guilty for violating #GeorgeFloyd‘s rights by denying him medical attention. Chauvin is currently serving 22 years for Floyd’s murder. pic.twitter.com/raD39W3RG4
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 13, 2021
A professor at the University of St. Thomas School Of Law, Mark Osler, told the Associated Press that Chauvin can secure a shorter prison sentence with a guilty plea. It should be noted that any potential prison time that Chauvin will receive from the federal sentence will likely be served at the same time as his state sentence. However, if convicted of the federal sentence, he could face the potential of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Osler added that Chauvin could get a federal penalty from at least 27 years to over 33 years in prison if he pleads guilty, and felt that Chauvin would probably be sentenced to the “lower-end” of that range. Although the Minnesota State System considers parole for inmates on good behavior who have served at least two-thirds of their prison sentence, there is no option for parole when serving a federal sentence.
“I think that real care was taken to come to this outcome,” Osler said. “I suspect that neither side wanted to live through another Chauvin trial and some value was received for each side.”
People Take To Twitter To Express Doubt: ‘There Has To Be An Angle He’s Working’
BREAKING: Derek Chauvin appears ready to plead guilty to violating George Floyd ’s civil rights, according to a court notice. A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday for the former Minneapolis police officer to change his current not-guilty plea. https://t.co/CQwuc1yNiJ
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 13, 2021
Many users took to Twitter to express their opinions on the possibility of Chauvin entering a guilty plea.
“He’s a white man in America, he’ll probably walk,” said one.
“Would a parole be more likely if he has a civil settlement to pay off?” another asked. “There has to be an angle he’s working.”
“Former Minnesota police officer,” someone noted. “Not murderer, because that would seem too harsh.”
“Run sentences consecutive not concurrent,” another wrote, to which someone else replied, “That’s not how it works.”
“Good, just seeing his name trending had me worried the judge was going to allow him to go home for Christmas with his family or some such idiocy,” another wrote.