Former cop Derek Chauvin gets 22 years in prison for George Floyd’s death
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose dying gasps under Chauvin’s knee led to the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the US in generations.
The punishment which fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested came after Chauvin broke his more than yearlong silence in court to offer condolences to the Floyd family say he hopes more information coming out will eventually give them some peace of mind.
With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.
In imposing the punishment, Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing your abuse of a position of trust authority also the particular cruelty shown to Floyd.
Chauvin was immediately led back to prison. As with the verdicts in April, he showed little emotion when the judge pronounced the sentence. His eyes moved rapidly around the courtroom, his COVID-19 mask obscuring much of his face.
The fired white officer was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man gasped that he couldn’t breathe went limp on May 25, 2020.
Bystander video of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit USD 20 bill at a corner store prompted protests around the world led to scattered violence in Minneapolis beyond.
On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called some additional legal matters at han apparent reference to the federal civil rights trial he still faces.
But very briefly, though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some some peace of mind, he said, without elaborating.
In asking that Chauvin be left off on probation, defense attorney Eric Nelson called Floyd’s death tragic said that Chauvin’s brain is littered with what-ifs from that day: What if I just did not agree to go in that day? What if things had gone differently? What if I never responded to that call? What if what if what if?
Floyd’s family members took the stexpressed sorrow about his death. They asked for the maximum penalty.
We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already,” said a tearful Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers.
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said: Our family is forever broken. And Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a video played in court, said that if she could say something to her father now, it would be: I miss you I love you.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to exceed sentencing guidelines give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying tortured is the right word for what the officer did to Floyd.
This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9 minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless just begging for his life,” Frank said.
Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, appeared in court to plead for mercy for son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of an aggressive, heartless uncaring person a racist.
I can tell you that is far from the truth, she told the judge. I want this court to know that none of these things are true that my son is a good man.”
She added: Derek, I want you to know I have always believed in your innocence, I will never waver from that. I will be here for you when you come home, she said.
The concrete barricades, razor wire National Guard patrols at the courthouse during Chauvin’s three-week trial in the spring were gone Friday, reflecting an easing of tensions since the verdict in April.
Ahead of the sentencing, the judge agreed with prosecutors that there were aggravating circumstances that could justify a heavier punishment than the recommended 12 1/2 years among them, that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority as a police officer did it in front of children.
Before the sentencing, the judge denied Chauvin’s request for a new trial. The defense had argued that the intense publicity tainted the jury pool that the trial should have been moved away from Minneapolis.
The judge also rejected a defense request for a hearing into possible juror misconduct. Nelson had accused a juror of not being candid during jury selection because he didn’t mention his participation in a march last summer to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Prosecutors countered the juror had been open about his views.
Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University, said 11 non-federal law officers, including Chauvin, have been convicted of murder for on-duty deaths since 2005. The penalties for the nine who were sentenced before Chauvin ranged from from six years, nine months, to life behind bars, with the median being 15 years.
With Chauvin’s sentencing, the Floyd family Black America witnessed something of a rarity: In the small number of instances in which officers accused of brutality or other misconduct against Black people have gone to trial, the list of acquittals mistrials is longer than the list of sentencings after conviction.
In recent years, the acquittals have included officers tried in the deaths of Philando Castile in suburban Minneapolis Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two mistrials were declared over the death of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati.
That’s why the world has watched this trial, because it is a rare occurrence, said Arizona-based civil rights attorney Benjamin Taylor, who has represented victims of police brutality. Everybody knows that this doesn’t happen every day.
Chauvin has been held since his conviction at the state’s maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, where he has been kept in a cell by himself for his own protection, his meals brought to him.
The three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are scheduled for trial in March on state charges of aiding abetting both murder manslaughter. They will also sttrial with Floyd on the federal civil rights charges. No date has been set for that trial.
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