Judge Peter Cahill to decide sentence after prosecutors ask for 30 years for Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd.
A judge on Friday will sentence former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd last year.
- Chauvin, who is white, held his knee on the neck of Floyd, who was Black, for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s death was recorded by onlookers and widely shared, sparking an international protest movement against police brutality and racism.
- Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in April.
- Judge Peter Cahill found four aggravated sentencing factors in the case, including that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused the power of a police officer, killed him with the participation of three or more other people, and that the murder occurred in front of minors.
- The charge carries a maximum of 40 years, though Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend Chauvin be sentenced to 12.5, given he has no criminal record. Prosecutors have asked for 30 years.
Here are the latest updates:
Jacob Blake’s uncle shows support
On a warm and sunny summer day with minimal security and no police presence, a handful of people began gathering on a small plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center that serves as the courthouse.
Standing under a the shade of a crop of trees is Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin last August. He drove up with his brother and Jacob’s father drove up from Chicago early this morning, arriving at the plaza an hour ago. “We’re here to support the Floyd family,” he told Al Jazeera.
Blake said the past year has made the US mature and institutional change needs to take place.
“We’re talking about reparations all over the nation now. We’re a mature, sophisticated county at this point and we can talk about some serious issues. … We want to go into this next millennium with these things straight.”
Floyd family ‘anxious’ ahead of testimony
Ben Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s family, told the Associated Press relatives were “anxious and tense” ahead of the sentencing.
“To us, George Floyd is a cause. He’s a case. He’s a hashtag. To them – that’s their flesh and blood. You know, that that’s their brother,” Crump said.
It remains unclear whether Chauvin, who did not testify at his own trial, would take the opportunity to speak at his sentencing.
Chauvin is also awaiting trial on federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s death, along with three other fired officers who have yet to have their state trials.
‘Nothing typical’ about Floyd’s death: lawyer
Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump said there “was nothing typical about what Derek Chauvin did in torturing George Floyd to death” and he and the family “don’t expect it to be a typical sentence”.
No amount of sentencing time will bring back George Floyd, but it can help us get closer to achieving equal justice and accountability. America is ready for its racial reckoning! We MUST seize this moment to keep moving forward to a better future! pic.twitter.com/xmPrYbqb9J
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 25, 2021
Crump and members of Floyd’s family have made numerous appearances at rallies – and funerals – of other Black people killed by police in the past year. They hope Chauvin’s sentence will set a precedent for killer cops, much like his conviction.
“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,” Crump told the AP.
Judge denies request for new trial
On Thursday Judge Peter Cahill denied (PDF) Chauvin’s request for a new trial saying he had failed to demonstrate that he was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial.
Chauvin had alleged the Court abused its discretion and that the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct, and asked for a Schwartz hearing to determine if there had been outside influence on the jury.
Cahill wrote that Chauvin had failed to establish a case of juror misconduct, or that a juror made false testimony. He denied both motions for a new trial and Schwartz hearing.
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