It is being reported that former Attorney General William Barr rejected a 3rd-degree murder plea deal from Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer accused in the death of George Floyd last spring.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that the plea deal was reached just days after the death of Floyd in May 2020 and that Barr quashed it. The Times used three law enforcement officials as their sources for the report. Chauvin was seen in a viral video kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Floyd later died due to complications including drug use.
The original deal would have included a 10-year prison sentence for Chauvin and he would have avoided civil rights charges. He would have served his time in federal prison as well. Allegedly, Barr thought the deal would be seen as too “lenient” and that it was premature, according to The Times. He felt further investigation needed to be conducted. Barr also reportedly wanted the prosecutors in the case to be able to present the case in a way they saw fit.
Since Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has seen violent protests that have destroyed businesses and marred the city. Those protests spread across the nation and it is feared that there may be renewed violence as the trial begins in less than a month. Protesters are claiming that the video of Floyd’s arrest by Chauvin proves police brutality. Since that video emerged, the ‘Defund the Police’ movement has grown along with calls for social justice and racial equality.
(Video Credit: NewsNation Now)
Chauvin’s trial begins on March 8 with jury selection. He will be charged with unintentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers involved in the altercation are facing lesser charges and will be tried together later in the summer, The Times reported. Chauvin could get 40 years in prison if convicted.
The cause of death for George Floyd is being contested as a medical examiner who conducted an autopsy stated that there was a “fatal level” of fentanyl present in his system at the time of death. But Dr. Andrew Baker has not declared that as the cause of Floyd’s death.
Floyd was arrested for passing a counterfeit bill at a convenience store. As Chauvin kneeled on his neck, he could be heard in the viral video begging officers for air and saying he couldn’t breathe. His death followed as did the violent unrest in the city and across the country. The death has become a rallying call for groups such as Black Lives Matter.
Minneapolis is prepping for unrest as the trial nears. Many businesses that were damaged in the original protests say they cannot withstand another assault and survive. The National Guard will reportedly be deployed to protect the city, businesses, and residents before, during, and after the trial. Some businesses are opting to preemptively close for the safety of their employees.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is leading the prosecution, which has requested a delay for the trial, citing concerns that demonstrations could turn into coronavirus super-spreader events, the Times noted.
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