After being found guilty on all charges for the murder of George Floyd in the state of Minnesota, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin made his first appearance in U.S. District Court. Chauvin appeared over a virtual call from Minnesota’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights wearing an orange jumpsuit. After being convicted for the murder of George Floyd, Chauvin is now on federal trial for violating Mr. Floyd’s civil rights and another incident involving a 14-year-old boy in 2017 for also depriving him of his civil rights.
Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson read Chauvin his Miranda rights and then asked if he agreed to skip his detention hearing. Chauvin replied, “In light of my current circumstances, I believe that would be a moot point.” Chauvin spoke briefly to his attorney, Eric Nelson, and ultimately decided to waive his right to a detention hearing. Judge Thorson remanded Chauvin into U.S. marshal custody, yet the Minnesota Department of Corrections confirmed he will be in federal custody but will not be leaving the Oak Park Heights prison.
In addition to the state of Minnesota’s charges against the four officers involved in the murder of George Floyd, last month a grand jury voted to indict Chauvin and the three other Minneapolis police officers (J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao) on federal charges. The federal charges note that the four officers used “color of the law” to strip Floyd of his constitutional rights to be “free from the use of unreasonable force” after Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground with a knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, with the other three officers standing by without intervening. The federal charges also state that “this offense resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of George Floyd.”
In addition to the federal charges being pressed against him for the murder of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin is being federally charged for depriving a 14-year-old boy of his constitutional rights during a 2017 arrest. Chauvin deprived the boy of his right to be “free from the use of unreasonable force” after grabbing hold of him by the throat, hitting him in the head with a flashlight, and subsequently held his knee to the upper back of the 14-year-old to keep him from moving.
Chauvin was convicted in April on Minnesota state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Some experts say he will likely face no more than 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 25th. If Chauvin is convicted in the federal case, any federal sentence would be served at the same time as his Minnesota state sentence.