Derek Chauvin receives 22.5 years in prison for the death of George Floyd


Chauvin was immediately returned to prison. As with the April verdicts, he showed little emotion when the judge handed down the sentence. His eyes moved quickly around the courtroom, his COVID-19 mask obscuring much of his face.

The dismissed white officer was convicted of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and 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 he couldn’t breathe and went limp on May 25, 2020.

Video of a bystander of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a fake $ 20 bill at a corner store sparked protests around the world and led to scattered violence in Minneapolis and beyond.

On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask and turned to the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called “some more legal issues to be dealt with.” – an apparent reference to the federal civil rights lawsuit he still faces. .

But very briefly, however, I want to offer my condolences to the Floyd family. There will be other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope that things will give you some peace of mind, ”he said, without elaborating.

In calling for Chauvin to be released on probation, defense attorney Eric Nelson called Floyd’s death “tragic” and said that “Chauvin’s brain is littered with speculation” from that day forward: “And What if I just didn’t agree to go that day? What if things turned out differently? What if I never answered that call? What if and if and if? “

Floyd’s family members spoke up and expressed their sadness over his death. They asked for the maximum sentence.

We no longer want to see slaps on the wrists. We’ve been through this before, ”said Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers, in tears.

Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said: “Our family is broken forever.” And Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter Gianna in a video released in court said if she could say something to her father now it would be, “I miss you and and I love you.

Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to go beyond sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying “tortured is the right word” for what the officer did to Floyd.

It’s not a momentary shot, a punch in the face. It’s 9 and a half minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and begged just for his life, “Frank said.

Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, appeared in court to beg pardon for her son, saying his reputation had been unfairly reduced to that of “an aggressive, heartless and indifferent” and racist person.

“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 and that my son is a good man.”

She added, “Derek, I want you to know that I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never stray from it.” “I’ll be there for you when you get home,” she said.

Concrete barricades, razor wires and National Guard patrols at the courthouse during Chauvin’s three-week trial in the spring disappeared on Friday, reflecting an easing of tensions since the verdict in April.

Prior to sentencing, the judge agreed with prosecutors that there were aggravating circumstances that could warrant a longer sentence than the recommended 12 and a half years – among them, that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority as a policeman and did so in front of children.

Before sentencing, the judge rejected Chauvin’s request for a new trial. The defense had argued that intense publicity had marred the jury roll and that the trial should have been moved from Minneapolis.

The judge also dismissed a defense request for a hearing into possible juror misconduct. Nelson had accused a juror of not being frank during the jury selection because he did not mention his participation in a march last summer in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Prosecutors replied that the juror had been open about his views.

Philip Stinson, professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University, said 11 non-federal judicial officers, including Chauvin, have been convicted of murder for deaths in service since 2005. The sentences for the nine who were sentenced before Chauvin ranged from six years, nine months, to life behind bars, the median being 15 years.

With Chauvin’s conviction, the Floyd family and black America witnessed a rarity: in the small number of cases where officers accused of brutality or other misconduct against blacks have been tried, the list of acquittals and trial cancellations is longer than the list of conviction after conviction.

In recent years, acquittals have included officers on trial in the deaths of Philando Castile in suburban Minneapolis and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two court cancellations have been declared following the death of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati.

“This is why the world has followed this trial, because it is a rare event,” said Arizona-based civil rights lawyer Benjamin Taylor, who has represented victims of police brutality. “Everyone knows this doesn’t happen every day. “

Chauvin has been held since his sentence at Oak Park Heights Maximum Security State Prison, where he is held alone in a cell for his own protection, with his meals brought to him.

The other three officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are set to stand trial in March for aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter. They will also be tried with Floyd on federal civil rights charges. No date has been set for this trial.

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