It has been more than a year since the day Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the days, weeks and months since his murder, protesters have taken to the streets, lawmakers have debated police reform legislation and tragically, more unarmed Black people have been killed by police.
Earlier this year, Chauvin was punished by the law for his actions in May 2020. A jury of his peers found the former police officer guilty of the following crimes: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Now, Judge Peter Cahill and the state of Minnesota are moving forward to the sentencing phase of the legal process. Tomorrow, Chauvin will learn his fate, but his time in court is far from over.
The Crime That Was Committed
On May 27, 2020, George Floyd lost his life during an encounter with former police officer Derek Chauvin. A local store owner had accused Floyd of using a counterfeit dollar bill to purchase an item, so he called the police. After officers arrived, Floyd was identified, handcuffed and later put on the ground. During the encounter, video shows Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as bystanders demand that he stop. Chauvin's colleagues stood by before Floyd was offered medical care. Unfortunately, it was all too late. Floyd was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. As previously stated, Chauvin was charged with the following crimes: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
What The Prosecution Is Looking For
Typically, someone convicted of unintentional second-degree murder who has no criminal history would receive a sentence of 12.5 years. However, the prosecution is seeking a sentence that is nearly three times longer. Prosecutors have cited the following details as aggravating factors that would demand a longer sentence:
- Floyd was vulnerable and treated with cruelty
- Chauvin failed to offer aid despite signs of medical distress
- Chauvin committed a crime with others in front of children
- Chauvin abused his position of authority as a police officer
"Judge Cahill has already made the finding that several aggravating factors exist," University of Minnesota Law School professor Richard Frase told Yahoo! News.
"So, it seems likely that the judge is inclined to depart upward as to the duration of the prison sentence."
What The Defense Is Looking For
Defense attorney Eric Nelson and his colleagues are looking for the lightest sentence possible. In this case, the lightest sentence possible is probation. However, legal experts close to the case feel that is nearly impossible in this case.
"I think there's a zero chance of that," University of St. Thomas Law School professor Mark Osler explained.
If and when Chauvin receives a sentence that will land him in prison, Nelson will file an appeal. The defense attorney has long disputed the aggravating factors cited by both the defense and Judge Peter Cahill during the legal process. Nelson has attempted to argue that Floyd was not particularly vulnerable during the matter because of his size and he was resisting arrest. All things considered, Nelson will more than likely lose any appeal regarding this case.
When Will The Sentencing Hearing Take Place?
Derek Chauvin is expected to appear for his sentencing hearing on Friday afternoon in Hennepin County. Judge Peter Cahill will oversee the hearing and media coverage will begin at approximately 1 p.m. Black Information Network will provide coverage of the sentencing hearing on both our digital site and radio platforms.