- Derek Chauvin made his first federal court appearance Tuesday on civil rights charges.
- The charges stem from the death of George Floyd, as well as the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
- A judge appointed an attorney to represent Chauvin as he is “financially unable” to hire one.
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A federal judge on Tuesday deemed Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, “financially unable” to hire an attorney to defend him against civil rights charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson wrote in a court filing that she was appointing Eric Nelson, the defense attorney who represented Chauvin in his state murder trial, to the job.
Chauvin appeared in federal court for the first time Tuesday. He is accused of using his power as a law enforcement officer to violate the federally protected civil rights of George Floyd, as well as a 14-year-old boy who Chauvin is accused of restraining under similar circumstances in 2017.
The former officer waived his right to a detention hearing on the civil rights charges.
“In light of my current circumstances, I think that would be a moot point,” Chauvin told the judge.
The case of George Floyd, who died after Chauvin pinned him to the ground for more than nine minutes while he was prone, handcuffed, and begging for his life, is well-known. Federal prosecutors also accused Chauvin in an indictment of holding his knee to a 14-year-old’s upper back and neck for 17 minutes while the teen lay prone and handcuffed, without resisting.
In a court filing made during Chauvin’s trial on murder charges, a Minnesota state prosecutor said videos from the violent 2017 arrest show Chauvin striking the teenager in the head and then pinning him to the ground with his knee, ignoring complaints that the teen couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin has not yet entered a plea on the civil rights charges, and an arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
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