MINNEAPOLIS — The former Minneapolis police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of tax evasion and was ordered to pay nearly $38,000 in restitution.
Chauvin and his now ex-wife, Kellie Chauvin, were charged in July 2020 on multiple counts of underreporting and failing to pay Minnesota state taxes. The couple was accused of underreporting more than $464,000 in joint income between 2014 and 2019 — including at least $95,000 Chauvin allegedly earned while working as an off-duty security guard.
Prosecutors built their case, in part, around financial documents and personal papers found abandoned in a box inside Chauvin’s former home — including handwritten work schedules detailing Chauvin’s off-duty work.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is White, pressed his knees into the Black man’s neck and back for more than nine minutes as Floyd, begged for breath and ultimately lost consciousness. The incident, captured on a viral Facebook video, spurred a national reckoning on issues of race and policing and sparked mass demonstrations around the world.
Three other officers at the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane, and Tou Thao — were later convicted on federal civil rights charges related to Floyd’s death, including failing to intervene with Chauvin. Kueng and Lane also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter charges in state court and are in federal custody. A state case against Thao, who is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, is pending.
Both Chauvins originally pleaded not guilty in the tax cases. Last month, Kellie Chauvin pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion as part of a plea deal, telling the judge she had relied on her husband to manage their finances and file taxes. Her plea agreement called for three years of probation and a restitution payment of $37,786. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 12.
On Friday, Derek Chauvin, who was dressed in a blue prison jumpsuit, was seen on video standing and pacing around a room as he waited for his hearing to begin. He pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion, admitting to Washington County Judge Sheridan Hawley that he had deliberately sought to avoid paying taxes because of financial trouble.
“The true reason was some financial concerns at the time,” Chauvin said.
Hawley sentenced Chauvin to 13 months in prison but said that sentence had already been satisfied since she allowed it to run concurrently with the prison time he’s already serving related to Floyd’s killing. She also ordered the former officer to pay $37,686 in restitution — though it was not immediately clear if he would split that cost with his ex-wife.
Scott Haldeman, an assistant Washington County attorney who prosecuted the case, admonished Chauvin for evading his tax bills, pointing out that tax dollars fund police departments — his profession at the time.
“It’s almost ironic,” Haldeman said.