The judge in the federal civil rights cases in the killing of George Floyd has disclosed that he has accepted the terms of Derek Chauvin’s plea agreement and will sentence him to 20 to 25 years in prison.
Chauvin pleaded guilty on December 15 to violating Floyd’s civil rights, admitting for the first time that he kept his knee on Floyd´s neck after he became unresponsive, resulting in his death on May 25, 2020.
The former officer admitted he willfully deprived Floyd of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure, including unreasonable force by a police officer.
Under the plea agreement, which Chauvin signed, both sides agreed Chauvin should face a sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years, with prosecutors saying they would seek 25. He could have faced life in prison on the federal count.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, who is also overseeing civil rights cases against three other former officers present at Floyd’s death, had deferred accepting Chauvin’s agreement pending the completion of a presentence investigation.
He said in a one-page order Wednesday May 4, that the report had been issued, so it was now appropriate to accept the deal. He has not set a sentencing date for Chauvin.
Chauvin is already serving a 22-and-a-half year sentence for his murder conviction in state court last year, though he is appealing that conviction. He is currently incarcerated under maximum security at Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights.
Chauvin would serve the federal sentence concurrently with the state sentence.
It’s not yet clear whether Chauvin would serve his time in state or federal prison, but in signing the federal plea deal, he requested a transfer to federal custody, according to ABC News.
Retired police Sergeant Betsy Brantner Smith, a spokesperson for the National Police Association, told DailyMail.com that federal prison would likely be a safer environment for the convicted former cop.
Brantner Smith noted that ex-cops convicted of crimes often face threats from other inmates behind bars, adding that Chauvin is ‘undoubtedly the most famous former police officer in prison.’
‘Federal prisons are generally nicer and safer than state prisons, so that could have been part of the thought process,’ she said of Chauvin’s plea deal.
Brantner Smith said that the convicted killer Chauvin ‘does not represent American law enforcement’ and that she hoped the resolution of the case would represent a turning point in community relations with police.
‘Now we can get on with having Derek Chauvin pay his debt to society,’ she said. ‘From the standpoint of American law enforcement, we are certainly ready to move forward and do what we do best which is protect the public.’
The federal plea deal means Chauvin will probably spend more time in prison than he faced under his state sentence alone.
State prisoners in Minnesota typically serve one-third of their sentence on parole, which for him would mean 15 years in prison.
With credit for good time in the federal system, Chauvin, who is 46, would serve from 17 years to 21 years and three months behind bars on the federal charges.
Chauvin waived his right to contest his federal conviction if Magnuson accepted the plea agreement.
Magnuson also has not set sentencing dates for three other ex-officers who were convicted of related federal civil rights charges in February.
The presentence investigations for Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng are still underway.
They’re scheduled to go on trial next month in state court on charges of aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd’s murder.