George Floyd's Killer Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years in Prison
By: Prateek Sachdeva
On Friday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to twenty-two years and six months in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose dying gasps under Chauvin’s knees led to the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the US in generations, reports Associated Press.
Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges on April 20 of this year. A diverse jury consisting of six white, and six people of colour, swiftly and unanimously convicted Chauvin of all charges. The verdict was widely seen as a landmark rebuke of the disproportionate use of police force against Black Americans.
Minnesota law provides for a minimum sentence of 12.5 years for the white, 45-year-old killer, who has been behind bars since being convicted on three counts of murder and manslaughter two months ago, CNN reports.
But Judge Peter Cahill identified four aggravating circumstances that led to a much heavier sentence. He said Chauvin had “abused his position of trust and authority,” had treated Floyd with “particular cruelty” in front of minors and “committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other” officers — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander — who are due to face trial.
“What the sentence is not based on is emotion, or sympathy, but at the same time, I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” said Judge Peter Cahill.
Chauvin’s sentence was one of the longest given to a former police officer for using unlawfully deadly force in the United States, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison stated. Successful prosecutions of police officers in such cases have been rare, Reuters reported. US President Joe Biden said the sentence "seemed to be appropriate" but admitted that he did not know all the details.
Last year, a video of 48-year-old George Floyd went viral where the former police officer was seen pressing his knee on his neck. Despite crying, “I can’t breathe!” multiple times and begging him to let go of his neck, the cop refused. Floyd’s death sparked the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests worldwide.
Darnella Frazier, 18, was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in American journalism, earlier this month, BBC reports.
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