Derek Chauvin, 45, is scheduled for sentencing on Friday in the murder of George Floyd, 46. Court is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT / 2:30 p.m. ET. The Law&Crime Network’s Brian Buckmire will be on the ground.
Prosecutors in Derek Chauvin’s trial are asking that the defense motion for a new trial be denied.
— Law & Crime Daily (@LawCrimeDaily) June 21, 2021
Chauvin, a former officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, was found guilty in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Jurors determined he killed Floyd during a May 25, 2020 arrest in which Chauvin knelt on the man’s neck for more than nine minutes in front of outraged bystanders. The defense asserted Floyd’s passing was actually from a combination of a heart issue (sudden cardiac arrhythmia) and drugs. Jurors did not buy it.
At issue was whether Chauvin acted appropriately in kneeling on Floyd when the man was prone and handcuffed, arms behind back. High-ranking members of Minneapolis police said Chauvin, who was fired for the incident, acted out of line. City Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that the defendant violated department policy. Homicide Lt. Richard Zimmerman testified to never being trained to kneel on the neck of a prone person because doing so was deadly force.
Through testimony and cross-examination, Chauvin’s defense tried to show that he acted reasonably under the circumstance, especially as outraged bystanders were calling out police. But those bystanders testified that they were outraged because of how Chauvin was treating the increasingly unresponsive Floyd. They pleaded with him to step off the man.
“Officer 987 killed a citizen in front of a Chicago [Avenue] store,” witness Donald Williams said during a 911 call played in court. “He just pretty much killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest. He had his knee on the dude’s neck the whole time. Officer 987. The men went and stopped breathing. He wasn’t resisting arrest or nothing. He was already in handcuffs. They pretty much just killed that dude. I don’t even know if he’s dead for sure, but he was not responsive when the ambulance came and got him.”
Chauvin’s defense is trying to get him probation, but Judge Peter Cahill agreed with the prosecution that there were enough aggravating factors to justify an upward sentencing departure of more than the 12-and-a-half years recommended under guidelines. The judge described Chauvin as “indifferent” while Floyd was ““terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die.”
Three other officers at the scene–Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane–are scheduled for trial on lesser charges to begin in March 2022.
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
[Image via the Minnesota Department of Corrections]
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