More than a year after George Floyd’s death in police custody sparked nationwide protests, the officer convicted of his murder has been sentenced.
Former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin appeared in court on Friday where a judge ordered him to serve more than 22 years behind bars for second-degree unintentional murder.
“Substantial and compelling”
That charge was the most serious of three crimes for which he was found guilty earlier this year.
Judge Peter Cahill did not hand down the 30-year prison term requested by prosecutors, but the punishment is well above the state sentencing guidelines for an average defendant convicted of the same crime.
The judge explained his reasoning for tacking on another decade to Chauvin’s sentence in a memo, citing four specific “substantial and compelling” aggravating factors.
According to Cahill, they included the conclusion that the ex-cop “abused a position of trust and authority,” “treated George Floyd with particular cruelty,” committed the crime when “children were present,” and acted as part of “a group” including three other officers who are set to face trial on lesser related offenses.
The judge went on to accuse Chauvin of violating a key tenet of the Minneapolis Police Department’s mission statement.
“An additional ten years”
“Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor,” Cahill wrote.
The 270-month sentence, “which amounts to an additional ten years over the presumptive 150-month sentence,” is “appropriate” given all of the other factors, the memo concluded.
With good behavior, Chauvin could be released after completing two-thirds of his sentence — or about 15 years behind bars.
WCCO reported that just hours before the sentencing hearing, Cahill rejected a motion from Chauvin’s attorneys to seek a new trial. He also shot down a petition for a separate hearing related to possible jury misconduct related to allegations that jurors hid or failed to disclose a personal bias in the case.
Defense attorneys are likely to appeal the conviction and sentence, although there is no evidence at this point to indicate that such an effort will prove successful in court.