Former US Police Officer Derek Chauvin Convicted of Death of African American George Floyd to be Sentenced on Friday, June 25
The sentencing schedule in Minnesota provides for a minimum of 12.5 years in prison, but aggravating circumstances have been brought against the officer, paving the way for a heavier penalty.
Twelve, twenty, thirty years in prison? White American policeman Derek Chauvin will be sentenced on Friday, two months after being convicted of the murder of African-American George Floyd after a resounding trial. The sentencing schedule in Minnesota provides for a minimum of 12.5 years in prison for the 45-year-old officer, who was incarcerated upon the announcement of the verdict. But Judge Peter Cahill, who will hand down the sentence at 1:30 p.m. in a Minneapolis court, identified four aggravating circumstances, paving the way for a much heavier sentence. The policeman “abused his position of trust and authority“, “treated George Floyd with great cruelty“, acted in the presence of minors and “committed his crime in a meeting“, wrote the magistrate upstream of the audience.
On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin and three colleagues wanted to arrest the black forty-something, suspected of having passed a fake $ 20 bill in the large city in the north of the United States. To control him, they handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground in the middle of the street. A knee on George Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin had maintained his pressure for nearly ten minutes, indifferent to the groans of the African-American but also to the pleas of distraught passers-by. The scene, filmed and uploaded by a young girl, quickly went viral. Confined for weeks, crowds had taken to the streets of the United States, but also beyond, to demand an end to racism and police violence. It took weeks for the mobilization to fall, but debates on these issues remain lively in the United States, where President Joe Biden is slow to implement the reforms promised during his campaign.
Republican and Democratic senators, however, announced Thursday, after weeks of negotiations, to have reached “an agreement in principle on a project to reform the police“. “There is still work to be done on the final law,” they said. In this context of intense debate, the trial of Derek Chauvin had been closely scrutinized across the country. Present continuously during the six weeks of hearings, the police officer refused to testify. His lawyer assured that he had contented himself with following the procedures in force in the police force and that the death of George Floyd was due to health problems combined with the ingestion of drugs. His lawyer, Eric Nelson, pleaded that his client had made “a good faith error” and requested a reduced sentence to the time already served, which would allow the immediate release of the police officer. The prosecutors, denouncing for their part “odious abuses” and a conduct “particularly cruel”, required 30 years of detention.
The jurors were not convinced and took less than ten hours to find him guilty. Their decision was greeted with a big sigh of relief from many, who feared the country would flare up again if Derek Chauvin emerged free from the hearings. Whatever the decision this Friday, it will be the subject of an appeal, Me Nelson having already expressed his intention to request the annulment of the verdict, in particular because of doubts about the impartiality of certain jurors. The judicial file will not stop there: the three colleagues of Derek Chauvin will be tried in March 2022 for “complicity in murder” by the justice of Minnesota. In parallel, the four men will also face a trial in federal justice which indicted them for “violation of the constitutional rights” of George Floyd. No date has yet been set.