Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, changed his not guilty plea to guilty earlier this month in the civil rights suit filed against him in Minnesota District Court tied to the death of George Floyd, according to a report published by Reuters.
George Floyd’s Arrest and Death
The events that occurred on May 25, 2020 are known by everyone around the world. Chauvin and other Minneapolis officers responded to a 9-1-1 call from a local store owner who stated that a Black male had tried to pay with a counterfeit bill. That black male was George Floyd, who was later videotaped being handcuffed by Chauvin. Chauvin then ordered Floyd to the ground and put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Shortly after Floyd became unresponsive, was taken to the hospital by an ambulance, and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The video, which recorded the entire incident, sparked outrage across the nation and resulted in protests over the use of excessive force by police officers against Black Americans.
Derek Chauvin’s Criminal and Civil Rights Cases
Chauvin was criminally charged with and convicted of second and third degree-murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury. A Minnesota judge sentenced Chauvin to 22 and a half years in state prison. Chauvin was then charged with a federal civil rights lawsuit for allegedly depriving Floyd’s constitutional right to freedom from “unreasonable seizure” including the right to be free from a police officer using unreasonable force. Chauvin’s recent guilty plea could result in serious penalties including life in prison or even the death penalty. Prosecutors are seeking a 25-year sentence to be served concurrently with Chauvin’s sentence from the state lawsuit. Sentencing on the federal lawsuit is expected to occur later this year. Additionally, Chauvin will have to pay a yet-to-be determined amount of restitution to Floyd’s family.
The protection of civil rights is a critical aspect of American democracy. While the United States has a history of slavery and today racial inequities continue to exist, individual rights and freedoms are still sacred in America. Civil rights are an expansive set of rights that individuals have to equal treatment in a vast number of settings — employment, education, housing, accommodations, and others. There are seven types of civil rights under American law. These include freedom:
- Of speech;
- Of the press;
- Of religion;
- To vote;
- Against unwarranted searches and seizures of your home or property;
- To a fair trial in court; and
- To remain silent during a police investigation.
In order to prevail on a civil rights case, the claimant must prove two elements:
- That the claimant had a constitutionally-protected right that was at stake; and
- That a federal official or a person acting on behalf of the federal government violated the claimant’s constitutionally protected right.
Contact Legal Counsel in Las Vegas
If you have been hurt in Las Vegas or the greater Nevada area, do not try to resolve your matter on your own. The attorneys at H&P Law have been helping the injured across the state of Nevada for years, and will fight for the best result possible. You should have tough attorneys on your side pushing to obtain the monetary compensation you deserve because of injuries suffered due to the fault of another. Contact H&P Law today to learn about your rights and obligations under applicable law.