Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in prison by Judge Peter Cahill on Friday for the murder of George Floyd.
Prosecutors had asked the imposing punishment be closer to 30 years. State guidelines recommend a 12-and-a-half-year sentence for a first-time offender. Cahill went beyond the guidelines, citing Chauvin’s ‘abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty’ to Floyd.
A 22-year sentence tends to be associated with more grizzly offenders. Last year, 17-year-old Jered Ohsman was sentenced as an adult by a Hennepin County District Court — the same court that sentenced Chauvin — for killing 39-year-old Steven Markey during a botched robbery. Oshman’s teenage accomplice alleges Oshman shot Markey for laughing at the boys when they tried to rob him. Another Minnesota man, Jaquan Lamarr Harkins, was given 22 years for breaking into a family’s home and sexually assaulting a female minor.
But in 2021, American courts operate more under the fear of additional racial unrest, destructive riots and mass media hit jobs than the rule of law and respect for due process. Before the sentencing, the judge denied the defense request for a new trial. The defense argued the trial should have occurred outside of Hennepin County due to intense publicity. Cahill also denied Chauvin’s request for a hearing into possible juror misconduct. Juror 52, Brandon Mitchell, identified himself in media interviews after the trial and was revealed to be a supporter of Black Lives Matter who had participated in protests in the summer of 2020.
Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, had some odd words for the Floyd family.
‘But very briefly, though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,’ Chauvin said, turning to the victim’s family members, who had earlier demanded the courts give him the maximum sentence. ‘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.’
Interestingly enough, because of Minnesota law, Chauvin, 45, could be released under parole after serving two-thirds or 15 years of his sentence. Chauvin’s mother pleaded for the judge to grant her son mercy and vowed, whatever the verdict, to be there for him when he comes out. Cockburn doubts the government will allow such a reunion to occur despite the leniency of Minnesota law. The Feds are also charging Chauvin with multiple felony counts of tax evasion and allegedly violating Floyd’s civil rights.
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