By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Minnesota prosecutors are asking a court to sentence former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 30 years in prison after he was convicted of killing George Floyd, court documents revealed. He will be sentenced on June 16.
“The State respectfully requests a sentence of 360 months, or 30 years, for Defendant Derek Chauvin, a former police officer convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd,” state prosecutors said in the court documents on Wednesday.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 ½ minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe and went motionless. Floyd’s death, captured on widely seen bystander video, set off demonstrations around the United States and beyond as protesters demanded changes in policing.
Even though Chauvin was found guilty of three counts, he’ll only be sentenced on the most serious one — second-degree murder. Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, with no criminal record, he faces a presumptive sentence of 12 ½ years on that count. Cahill can sentence him to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and stay within the guideline range.
But prosecutors asked for what is known as an upward departure, saying there were several aggravating factors that warranted a higher sentence. Cahill agreed, finding Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more people, and that he pinned Floyd down in the presence of children.
Prosecutors said that even one of those factors would warrant a higher sentence.
Floyd’s death triggered mass protests in a large number of major cities in the United States, where demonstrators denounced police brutality and demanded justice for Blacks who suffered at the hands of US police officers. Some of the protests turned into riots complete with acts of vandalism and property destruction.
Chauvin has also been indicted on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he restrained in a 2017 arrest. The three other former officers involved in Floyd’s death were also charged with federal civil rights violations; they await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.
A federal trial date has not been set. Federal prosecutors are asking for more time to prepare for trial, saying the case is complex because of the sheer volume of evidence and the separate but coordinated state and federal investigations.