Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was just sentenced Friday afternoon for the murder of George Floyd.
The judge’s sentence on count one of unintentional second-degree murder is 270 months. It is a 22. 5 year sentence that goes beyond the 10-year presumptive sentence, due to abuse of authority. He got credit for 99 days time served. There is a possibility that he may only serve 15 years. The court was then adjourned.
“Mr. Chauvin, 45 years old, was convicted in April of all counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of Mr. Floyd,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “The 46-year-old Black man died after the white officer knelt on his neck and back for more than nine minutes. Mr. Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis police force.”
The judge qualified his sentence as having been rendered without “emotion,” while acknowledging the pain of the Floyd family in particular. He also said he is not “attempting to send any messages” to the community, and is not rendered without consideration of “public opinion.”
Prosecutors had asked for a 30-year sentence, while the defense has argued for probation. The maximum sentence possible was 40 years.
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But the prosecution on Friday claimed there were at least four “aggravated factors” in Floyd’s death, and sought a “greatly increased sentence,” as is under the discretion of Minnesota judges under the law. The prosecution thus asked for at least twice the typical sentence for second-degree homicide.
The sentencing may thus disappoint Black Lives Matter and social justice activists who had sought a much longer sentence.
“For someone who actually committed murder, if he only gets like 15 years, that’s unacceptable,” Trahern Crews, founder and chief organizer for Black Lives Matter Minnesota said before the sentencing.
“The maximum penalty for second-degree murder in Minnesota is 40 years,” WSJ noted. “State sentencing guidelines recommend 12 to 15 years for someone with no prior felony convictions, but prosecutors said they would seek a harsher sentence.”
The sentencing followed a courtroom hearing where Floyd’s emotional family members recounted the horrific fallout from watching the now infamous video of Derek Chauvin kneeing on George Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes.
Floyd’s brother Philonise, his brother Terrence and his nephew Brandon Williams made victim impact statements at Chauvin’s sentencing. The family asked for Chauvin to be given the maximum sentencing without possibility of parole.
“There was nothing typical about what Derek Chauvin did in torturing George Floyd to death,” family attorney Ben Crump said. “So we don’t expect it to be a typical sentence. It needs to be a sentence that sets a new precedent for holding police officers accountable for the unjustifiable killings of Black people in America.”
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.