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Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 and a half years: what charges was he convicted of?

Judge Peter Cahill handed down a sentence of 22 and a half years Friday to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.

Judge Peter Cahill handed down a sentence of 22 and a half years Friday to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.
David Dee DelgadoAFP

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty on all three counts against him in April for his part in the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man while he was in police custody. On Friday, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, keeping his statements brief, sentenced Chauvin to 10 years over the statutory sentence.

The death of George Floyd last year caused outrage nationwide leading to protests over police brutality and racial inequality worldwide. The murder was caught on video which showed the former police officer pressing his knee to George Floyd’s neck, handcuffed and face down,  for 9 minutes and 29 seconds even after the life went out of Mr Floyd.

What charges was Derek Chauvin convicted of?

Chauvin was convicted of two counts of murder, second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder, and a third count of second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors were not required to prove that how Chauvin had restrained Floyd was the sole cause of death but that his conduct was a “substantial causal factor.”

Mr. Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority as a police officer by doing just that — just disregarding all of his training

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank

The jurors, in convicting Chauvin, considered the level of force he used to restrain Floyd to be unreasonable even in hindsight to an objective officer in Chauvin’s position. A witness for the prosecution Seth Stoughton testified “No reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate, acceptable or reasonable use of force.”

Why was Derek Chavin sentenced to 22.5 years?

Derek Chauvin was sentenced on only one of the three counts that he was found guilty of, second-degree unintentional murder, the other two were lesser crimes and went unadjudicated in the sentencing. Under Minnesota state guidelines Chauvin, who had no priors could have been given a maximum of 12.5 years, but the charge could carry as many as 40 years.

It has been painful throughout Hennepin County, throughout the state of Minnesota, and even the country. But most importantly we need to recognize the pain of the Floyd family.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank cited aggravating factors when asking for a harsher sentence. Judge Cahill concurred giving Chauvin an additional 10 years on top of the statutory sentence.

Judge Cahill kept his comments short saying that his full 22 page decision could be read to see how he determined the punishment  handed down. Cahill told those assembled in the courtroom that his decision was "not based on emotion or sympathy," nor on public opinion. "But at the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family. You have our sympathies," Cahill added.

He said his job as a trial judge was to apply the facts when deciding a suitable punishment. But He cautioned that he was not trying to send a message with the sentence he handed down.

The three other police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd will go on trial in late August.


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