MINNEAPOLIS — The former Minneapolis police officer serving time for the 2020 murder of George Floyd pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of tax evasion.
Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting by failing to file Minnesota state tax returns for the years 2016 and 2017.
in a Minnesota court before Washington County Judge Sheridan Hawley. Chauvin appeared via Zoom from a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. He was standing in a room and pacing before the hearing began.
Chauvin and his now-ex-wife were indicted on multiple counts of failing to report their income and fail to file tax returns. His ex-wife previously pleaded guilty to two counts.
“The real reason,” Chauvin told the judge, “is some financial concerns at the time.”
Chauvin was previously convicted on state murder charges for the May 2020 killing of Floyd and on a federal charge of violating the black man’s civil rights.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into the black man’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed, said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. The killing, which was videotaped by a bystander, sparked protests around the world as part of a broader reckoning over racial injustice.
Shortly after Floyd’s murder, Chauvin and his then-wife were indicted on multiple counts for allegedly failing to report their income to the state of Minnesota and filing Minnesota tax returns. The complaints allege that, from 2014 to 2019, the Chauvins reported less than $464,433 of their joint income.
With unpaid taxes, interest and fees, the Chauvins, who have since divorced, owe $37,868 to the state, according to court documents.
The tax investigation began in June 2020, after the Minnesota Department of Revenue received information about suspicious filings by Derek Chauvin. The agency launched a cursory internal review and later opened a formal investigation.
The investigation ultimately found that the Chauvins did not file state tax returns for 2016, 2017, or 2018, and did not report all of their income for 2014 and 2015. When tax returns for 2016 through 2019 were filed in June 2020, the Chauvins did not They also did not report all of their income in those years, the complaints said.
The complaints say Chauvin was required to pay tax on income from off-duty security work he did at various jobs between 2014 and 2020. Investigators believe he earned about $95,920 at one job during those six years that it went unreported.
His ex-wife, Kellie May Chauvin, pleaded guilty Feb. 24 to two counts of aiding and abetting failure to file 2016 and 2017 tax returns. Their plea deal called for three years probation and restitution with no more than 45 days. of community service. The other charges were dropped. Hawley said that she will be sentenced on May 12.
Chauvin was convicted on state charges of murder and manslaughter in 2021 and is serving a 22 1/2-year sentence in that case. He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years. He is serving the sentences at the same time.
Three other officers were convicted on federal charges of violating Floyd’s rights. Two of them have also been convicted on a state charge of accessory to manslaughter, while the third is waiting for a judge to decide his fate on the state charges.
Trisha Ahmed is a staff member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on covert issues. Follow her on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15