Convicted policeman says innocent

The former white police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd and the three other officers involved in the victim’s death pleaded not guilty today, at the start of a new trial, this time before federal justice.

Derek Chauvin (photo), 45, never acknowledged any wrongdoing in the death of Floyd, a black man on whose neck he knelt for nearly 10 minutes until the victim stopped breathing, in May 2020.

Chauvin was sentenced in June to 22 and a half years in prison, a sentence he is currently serving, at the end of an extraordinary trial in Minnesota state court.

During his first trial, his lawyer said that Chauvin followed police procedures and that Floyd’s death was due to health problems aggravated by drug use.

Chauvin’s three former colleagues, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, will be tried in March 2022 on charges of “complicity in murder”, also in Minnesota courts.

In parallel, all four face federal charges of “violation of Floyd’s constitutional rights.”

It is on these charges that they appeared today, by video, before a federal judge. At the beginning of the hearing, everyone declared themselves “not guilty”.

The local press, however, had reported that Chauvin had been negotiating a court settlement for several weeks that would spare him another trial.

At the end of the first case, Chauvin offered his condolences to the Floyd family and said, “There will be other information in the future that would be of interest and I hope things give you some peace of mind.”

Double charges are allowed in the United States, but they are relatively rare. The proceedings reflect the importance of the case, the center of a wave of protests across the country against police brutality and systemic racism.