George Floyd Murder Trial: ‘Sentence Not Based on Public Opinion’

Former US policeman Derek Chauvin on 25 June was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.

2 min read

A Minneapolis court on Friday, 25 June, sentenced former American policeman Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd that rocked the United States last year and triggered the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

A video of the police action that led to the death of Floyd, an African-American man, had gone viral on social media in May last year and had sparked global outrage with people coming out to protest against Floyd’s death.

The former cop was convicted in April this year after being found guilty on all charges against him.


The Murder Trial

Twelve jurors had found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after just 10 hours of deliberations, as per international media reports.

Judge Peter Cahill, while pronouncing the sentence, went beyond the 12.5-year sentence prescribed under the state guidelines, owing to Chauvin’s “abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty” shown to Floyd.

Cahill further clarified that the sentence imposed on Chauvin was not influenced by the public concern that the case had garnered, but that the trial had been conducted in a routine manner, taking into consideration all evidence.

"I'm not basing my sentence on public opinion," the judge was quoted as saying by Reuters. "The job of a trial court judge is to apply the law to specific facts and to deal with individual cases," he added.

Chauvin's mother Carolyn Pawlenty told the judge that her son was innocent and that the events of the day of the murder had taken a toll on him. She pleaded to the court for a shorter sentence.

Right before his sentence was pronounced, Chauvin, who had not testified at his trial, removed his mask and spoke to George Floyd's family.

“…But very briefly, though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”
Derek Chauvin, accused

Several members of Floyd's family, including his brothers, nephew, and daughter also testified in the court, pushing for the maximum sentence.

The prosecutors in the case had requested a 30-year sentence for Chauvin.

The Hennepin County District judge said that it was important to acknowledge the suffering of the Floyd family, as he prescribed the sentence that goes beyond usual punishment meted out to first-time offenders.

"Today's sentencing is not justice but it is another moment of real accountability on the road to justice," case prosecutor Ellison said as per a Reuters report.

Floyd's brother, Terrence, however, expressed his dissatisfaction with the sentence handed to Chauvin. “We don’t want to see anymore slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already,” he said, as quoted by AP.

(With inputs from Reuters and Associated Press)

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