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Derek Chauvin to change plea in federal civil rights case in death of George Floyd

<i>pool</i><br/>Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin

By Evan Perez and Adrienne Broaddus, CNN

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in April on state murder charges for killing George Floyd, is scheduled to appear at a change of plea hearing Wednesday in the federal civil rights case against him, according to court documents.

Chauvin is accused of depriving Floyd’s right to be free from “unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.”

Chauvin pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.

Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, sparked protests nationwide against police brutality and racial injustice.

Bystander video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while the 46-year-old, handcuffed and lying prone in the street, gasped for air, telling Chauvin and other officers, “I can’t breathe.”

The change of plea hearing is scheduled for US District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Whatever his initial plea was he has indicated he would like to change that plea,” a court spokesperson told CNN.

CNN left messages Monday for Chauvin’s attorney but didn’t get an immediate response.

Former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng also were charged in connection with their alleged failure to intervene in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, according to the federal indictment. Chauvin, Thao, Kueng and Thomas Lane also face a charge for allegedly failing to give Floyd medical aid.

Thao, Kueng and Lane pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.

The indictment said “the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd.”

In April, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd’s death. He was sentenced to 22 and half years in state prison. Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence, or 15 years — and he will be eligible for supervised release for the remaining seven and a half years.

Separately, Thao, Kueng and Lane are charged in a state court with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. They have pleaded not guilty. That trial is currently set for March 2022.

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