Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who choked George Floyd to death and was convicted of his murder in April, pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating George Floyd's civil rights. Conviction on the Federal charge could have extended Chauvin's nearly 23-year sentence while aquittal could not have shortened it; by pleading guilty, Chauvin avoids a trial and increases his chance of receiving a shorter concurrent sentence. No date was set for sentencing.
Chauvin appeared in person Wednesday for the change of plea hearing in an orange short-sleeve prison shirt and was led into and out of the court in handcuffs. He said "Guilty, your honor" to confirm his pleas in Floyd's death and an unrelated 2017 case, and acknowledged that he was guilty of the acts alleged.
With parole and presuming good behavior, Chauvin is expected to actually serve about 15 years of his state sentence behind bars. Any federal sentence would run at the same time as the state sentence, and defendants serve about 85 percent of federal sentences presuming good behavior. That means if the judge gives Chauvin the maximum 25 years requested, he would likely serve about six years and three months beyond his state sentence.