Former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin to be sentenced in George Floyd murder

1 year ago

The criminal sentencing of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd began Friday afternoon with emotional victim impact statements from Floyd's family members.

Hours before, a judge denied a request for a new trial for Chauvin, whose brutally killing of Floyd, a Black man, whose videotaped death in May 2020 sparked demands for reform of U.S. police departments.

Chauvin held his knee on or near Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, as the 46-year-old was prone on the ground, while detaining him on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill for a purchase, as three other Minneapolis cops stood by.

Floyd's brother Terrence Floyd addressed Chauvin, saying he wanted to ask him "why?"

"What were you thinking? What was in your thoughts that day, when you had your knee on my brother's neck?" asked Terrence Floyd, who at times paused to regain his composure.

"When you knew that he posted no threat anymore. When he was handcuffed? Why didn't you at least get up? Why did you stay there?"

Prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence Chauvin to 30 years in prison.

That is a decade less than the maximum possible sentence he faces on the charge of second-degree murder, the most serious of the three counts on which he was convicted by a jury on April 20 after trial.

Jurors also convicted Chauvin of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin's lawyer is asking the judge to sentence the 45-year-old white ex-police officer to probation, with time served in jail since last year.

The presumptive sentence for Chauvin under Minnesota's sentencing guidelines is 12½ years.

The shocking video of Floyd's death, which was widely disseminated by news media and on social media, led to a wave of large protests across the nation against police brutality and systemic racism.

The three other now-ex cops involved in Floyd's arrest, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane, were originally due to stand trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. That trial is now scheduled for next March.

Cahill postponed that trial in light of a federal criminal indictment issued in May against the three officers and Chauvin for violating Floyd's civil rights. The judge said he wanted the federal case to be handled first and also wanted to put some time between Chauvin's state trial and that of the three other cops.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, in an order denying a request for a new trial, wrote that Chauvin's lawyer Eric Nelson had failed to show that Cahill committed errors that deprived Chauvin of a fair trial or that prosecutors engaged in misconduct.

Cahill also rejected a request by the defense for a hearing on possible misconduct by jurors, saying Chauvin's lawyer failed to establish that a juror gave false testimony during jury selection.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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