White policeman Derek Chavez, who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the constitutional rights of black forty-year-olds, admitting some responsibility for the first time in a drama that rocked the United States and the world.
In the orange prisoner jumpsuit, the 45-year-old former agent appeared briefly before a federal judge in St. Paul, North America, to formalize a confessional agreement described as “historic” by the family by George Floyd.
He did not speak, except to comply with the magistrate’s questions.
On May 25, 2020, this long-working Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of an African-American for about ten minutes.
The scene, which was filmed and uploaded, provoked outrage and sparked massive protests against racist and police violence in the United States and beyond.
In a case that was well attended in Minnesota last spring, his lawyer argued that George Floyd had died of an overdose, along with ill health, and that Derek had used his death force to his advantage.
He did not trust the jury and the former police officer was convicted of murder and sentenced to 22 and one and a half years in prison. Appealed against the verdict.
In parallel, the federal judiciary opened its own cases accusing George Floyd and his three former colleagues of “violating constitutional rights.”
These “dual” cases are allowed in the United States, but are relatively rare, and reflect the significance of this case, which has resumed a heated debate over America’s racist past.
At the federal division, the police officer pleaded not guilty in September, but he changed his strategy on Wednesday. By pleading guilty, he avoids a new trial scheduled for January and faces a life sentence.
The date for sentencing has not yet been determined. Federal prosecutors have demanded that he be sentenced to 25 years in prison at the same time as the sentence handed down in state courts.
The impact of this turn in the case of his three co-defendants remains uncertain at this point.
The opportunity for him to plead guilty in this section was raised last spring.
At the end of his trial, he told Floyd’s family that speculation was rife: “There will be new information in the future that will be interesting and give you peace of mind.”
She was pleased with his attitude. “Historic days give us hope as our country continues to struggle with demons of the past and present. Today is one of those days, ”their lawyer, Ben Crump, said in a statement. “It is a victory for the interests of justice, but we will never forget its cost,” he added.
“I’m glad more people are willing to discuss what’s going on in the United States,” but his brother Pilloni Floyd said as he left the courtroom: “We will never give up. George again.”