Officials said former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin intended to plead guilty to George Floyd’s in-custody murder before a Trump administration official blocked the plea deal last year, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Former Attorney General William Barr personally blocked the deal that would have allowed Chauvin to plead guilty to third-degree murder and avoid federal charges including a civil rights offense, the AP reported. Barr rejected Chauvin’s plea deal partly due to the investigation into Floyd’s death being in the early stages.
The deal was discussed as a way to expedite the case against Chauvin in hopes of sidestepping more protests in Minneapolis, two law enforcement officials told the AP on condition of anonymity since they were not permitted to discuss the case.
Barr opposed local officials trying to bring Derek Chauvin to justice WHEN THE DEFENDANT AGREED TO A PLEA DEAL. Barr nixed it.
And does *anyone* believe Barr was motivated to be seen as sufficiently anti-police brutality in the summer of 2020? ???? pic.twitter.com/VrADcgJyHH
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) February 11, 2021
It was previously reported that Chauvin was engaged in discussions over plea deals, according to the AP. A press conference with the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis was reportedly delayed for around two hours as the plea discussions were ongoing.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree manslaughter and manslaughter and is expected to be tried on March 8, according to the AP. The three other former officers are scheduled to be tried later this year.
Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest on May 25, 2020, the AP reported. Floyd repeatedly told the arresting officers that he couldn’t breathe, video captured by witnesses shows. (RELATED: National Guard Preparing For Indefinite Deployment While George Floyd Trial Proceeds In Minneapolis)
Floyd’s death sparked nationwide demonstrations that included violence, rioting and looting. Chauvin and the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired shortly after, the AP reported.
The judge overseeing Chauvin’s case declined a prosecution request to reintroduce the third-degree murder charge against him, according to the AP.
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