Derek Chauvin Will be Sentenced Today for Murder of George Floyd

By Shani Saxon Jun 25, 2021

UPDATE: Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison on Friday, June 25 after this article was published. This sentence is 7 1/2 years less than the prosecutor’s original request of a 30-year sentence, according to NPR

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will be sentenced on Friday (June 25) for the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin has been held in solitary confinement since his conviction in April, and lawyers and investigators have been working since then to determine the amount of prison time he will face, The New York Times reports. 

The maximum sentence Chauvin is allowed to receive under the law is 40 years. Prosecutors, however, are requesting a 30 year sentence, while defense attorneys are asking for probation. 

According to The Times, the Floyd family is scheduled to speak at the sentencing, which is expected to last roughly an hour. The former officer will also be allowed to speak, but legal experts tell The Times that it’s unlikely he will choose to do so.

In May 2020, Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes. The murder sparked massive outrage and global protests against police violence and systemic racism. Chauvin on April 20 was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

According to The Times:

…the judge who will decide Mr. Chauvin’s sentence, Peter A. Cahill, has already ruled that four “aggravating factors” apply in the case, which would allow Mr. Cahill to deliver a longer sentence than Minnesota’s guidelines call for. The judge found that Mr. Chauvin acted with particular cruelty; acted with the participation of three other individuals, who were fellow officers; abused his position of authority; and committed his crime in the presence of children, who witnessed the killing on a Minneapolis street corner on May 25, 2020. 

Legal experts tell The Times that Cahill is generally expected to “deliver a sentence closer to the 30 years the prosecution has asked for than the far shorter [Minnesota] guideline sentence of 12.5 years.”

As NPR reports, Minnesota law allows people sentenced to prison become “eligible to be considered for parole after serving two-thirds of their sentence, as long as they’ve had no disciplinary problems while in custody.”

Chauvin and the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, have also been indicted on federal criminal charges for Floyd’s murder. All four are charged with “violating Floyd’s civil rights, with Chauvin accused of using excessive force and ignoring the medical emergency that ended in Floyd’s death,” NPR reports. 

So far there is no trial date for the federal charges.