Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 yrs and six months in prison for George Floyd’s death.
The time has come for the most-awaited punishment in the USA. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose latest gasps under Chauvin’s knees sparked the largest protest against racial injustice in America in generations.
The punishment imposed on Friday did not reach the 30 years that prosecutors had requested.
With good behavior, the 45-year-old Chauvin could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.
Former police officer Derek Chauvin broke his long silence in the courtroom on Friday as he faced sentencing for the murder of George Floyd, offering condolences to Floyd’s family and saying he hopes more information comes out will give them “some tranquility”.
Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed COVID-19 and turned to the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called “some additional legal issues at stake,” an apparent reference to the federal civil rights lawsuit that still expensive.
“But very briefly though, I want to extend my condolences to the Floyd family. There will be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things give you a little peace of mind, “he said, without giving more details.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, called Floyd’s death “tragic,” and said that Chauvin’s “brain is riddled with what-ifs” of the day: “What if I just didn’t agree to go that day? What if things had gone differently? What if I never answered that call? What if, what if, what if? ”
Members of Floyd’s family took the stand and expressed their regret at his death. They asked for the maximum penalty.
“We don’t want to see any more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already, ”Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers, said tearfully.
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 and I love you.”
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to exceed sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying “torture is the right word” for what the officer did to Floyd.
“This is not a momentary shot, a punch to the face. This is nine and a half minutes of cruelty for a man who was helpless and just begging for his life, “said Frank.
Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, took the stand to plead mercy for her son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of “an aggressive, ruthless and indifferent person” and racist.
“I can tell you that this is far from the truth,” he told the judge. “I want this court to know that none of these things is 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 doubt that.”
“I’ll be here for you when you come home,” he said.
Concrete barricades, barbed wire, 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 April verdict. Still, the sentencing was recognized as another big step forward for Minneapolis since Floyd died on May 25, 2020.
“Between the incident, the video, the riots, the trial, this is the pinnacle,” said Mike Brandt, a local defense attorney who followed the case closely. “The verdict was huge too, but this is where justice comes in.”
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to nine and a half minutes while the 46-year-old black man gasped for breath. and went limp.
Passerby’s video of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $ 20 bill at a corner store sparked protests around the world and sparked widespread violence in Minneapolis and beyond.
Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines called for 12 1/2 years, but Judge Peter Cahill agreed with prosecutors before Friday’s proceeding that there were aggravating circumstances that could justify more severe punishment, including that Chauvin treated Floyd with Special cruelty, he abused his position of authority as a police officer and did it in front of the children.
The defense requested parole, saying that Chauvin was the product of a “broken” system and “believed he was doing his job.”
With good behavior, Chauvin could be paroled after serving about two-thirds of his sentence.
Before sentencing, the judge denied Chauvin’s request for a new trial. Defense attorney Eric Nelson had argued that the heavy publicity tainted the jury and that the trial should have moved out of Minneapolis.
The judge also rejected a defense request for a hearing on possible jury misconduct. Nelson had accused a juror of being insincere during the jury selection because he did not mention his participation in a march last summer to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Prosecutors responded that the jury had been open about its points sight.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, said the relatives were “anxious and tense” before the trial. “For us, George Floyd is a cause. It is a case. It is a hashtag. For them, that is their flesh and blood. You know, that’s his brother, ”Crump said.
It was unclear if Chauvin would break his long silence and speak at his sentencing. Some experts had expressed doubts that he would say anything because of the risk that his words could be used against him in the federal case. No date has been set for that trial.
But Brandt said Chauvin could say a few words without getting into legal trouble. “I think it’s your chance to tell the world, ‘I didn’t mean to kill him,'” the lawyer said. “If I were him, I think I would want to try to let people know that I am not a monster.”
Chauvin did not testify at his trial. The only explanation the audience heard from him came from body camera footage in which he told a viewer at the scene, “We have to control this guy because he’s a sizeable guy … and it looks like he’s probably onto something. “.
Philip Stinson, a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University, said 11 non-federal law enforcement officers, including Chauvin, have been convicted of murder for service deaths since 2005. The penalties for the nine who were sentenced before Chauvin ranged from six years, nine months, to life in prison, with a median of 15 years.
With Chauvin’s sentencing, the Floyd family and Black America were faced with an oddity: In the small number of cases in which officers accused of brutality or other misconduct against blacks have gone to trial, the list of acquittals and lost trials is longer than the list. of sentences after conviction.
In recent years, acquittals have included officers tried in the deaths of Philando Castile in suburban Minneapolis and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two mistrials were declared for the death of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati.
“That is why the world has seen this trial because it is rare,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Taylor, who has represented victims of police brutality. “Everybody knows that this doesn’t happen every day.”
Several people interviewed in Minneapolis prior to Chauvin’s sentencing said they wanted to see a harsh sentence.
Thirty years “doesn’t seem like long enough to me,” said Andrew Harer, a retail worker who is white. “It would be fine if he was in jail for the rest of his life.”
Joseph Allen, 31, who is black, said he would like to see Chauvin receive a life sentence, adding that he hopes other police officers will learn “not to do what Derek Chauvin did.”
As for whether he would like to hear Chauvin speak, Levy Armstrong said: “For me, as a black woman living in this community, there is really nothing he can say that can ease the pain and trauma that he caused. … I think if I spoke it would be insincere and could cause more trauma. ”
Chauvin has been detained since his sentence at the state’s maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, where he has been in a cell only for his own protection, meals have been brought to him.