Former Minneapolis Police Officer Looking at Maximum 75 Years in Prison
By Mary Bulnes
Derek Chauvin, after 11 months of backlash and pressure, has been charged for the murder of George Floyd. Floyd died on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, MN, while being investigated by police over the use of a counterfeit bill. His death sparked a wave of protests and outrage across the nation and internationally as Black Lives Matter protests spread through major cities. Much of it was targeted at Derek Chauvin, the officer responsible for his passing as many spoke against racially charged police brutality and demanded the Minnesota officer be held accountable. Floyd died after Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for close to 9 and a half minutes, limiting his ability to breathe for a fatal period of time.
Almost a year after Floyd’s passing, Chauvin went to trial on April 20, in Minneapolis. During the trial, the prosecution stated, “He did what he did on purpose, and it killed George Floyd.” He was being tried for unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The jury deliberated for 10 hours over the course of two days, and found him guilty of all charges. Collectively, his sentences amount to 75 years in prison, but the judge presiding over the case has chosen to focus on the most serious charge of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum of 40 years. Chauvin was taken into custody immediately following the conclusion of his trial.
The sentence brought momentary relief and a fleeting feeling of justice. As Philonise Floyd, George Floyds brother, stated, “I was just praying they would find him guilty. As an African American, we usually never get justice.”
Philonese Floyd’s sentiment was shared across the nation, as many agreed that George Floyd receiving justice was only a small step in police reform and ending racially-charged hate crimes.
The Sunday before the Chauvin trial’s last testimonies, another black man by the name of Daunte Wright was killed by police in Minnesota. This sparked more demand for police to be held accountable and charged for the lives of those who died at their hands, and even former president and former first lady Barack and Michelle Obama spoke up.
“The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country,” they stated.
Image courtesy of ABC News.