The jailing of Minneapolis ex police officer Derek Chauvin for 22 and a half years has been described as a “historic” moment which brings the “nation one step closer to healing.”
Chauvin killed George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for nine minutes. The horrific moment was caught on camera by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier which prompted international protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
The 46-year-old father was begging repeatedly “please, please, please” before saying the three words that became the chant from protesters: “I can’t breathe.”
In April 44-year-old Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the May 2020 killing of George Floyd.
Judge Peter Cahill said that Floyd’s death was particularly cruel “in that Mr Floyd was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die but during which the defendant objectively remained indifferent to Mr Floyd’s pleas.”
In a sentencing brief prosecutors for the State of Minnesota claimed a 30-year sentence was justified for Chauvin considering the circumstances of the case.
On June 25, two months after he was found guilty Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years without probation.
Chauvin had remained largely silent throughout his trial but did speak after he was sentenced with a what is now being reported as a very cryptic statement.
Addressing the court and Floyd’s family, Chauvin removed his mask and said: “I am not able to give a full statement at this time, but very briefly, I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.
“There is going to be some other information in the future that will be of interest and I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”
Speculation is rife as to what Chauvin is referring to with former Hennepin County prosecutor Joseph Daly describing his words as a “real head-scratcher, I think it was tone-deaf,” he told the New York Daily News.
“If there was any way to give any kind of solace to the Floyd family, it was to offer condolences and beg for forgiveness and then just shut up.”
Some reports suggest that his comment is related to a plea deal for the disgraced cop who chose not to testify during his murder trial.
Prior to his sentencing Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter, Gianna, provided a heartbreaking victim’s impact statement via video.
“I want to play with him, have fun, and go on a plane ride with him,” Gianna said.
“We used to have dinner every single night before we went to bed. He used to help me brush my teeth,” she added before concluding those: “mean people did something to him.”
Floyd’s family attorney Benjamin Crump said: “This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability. For once, a police officer who wrongly took the life of a Black man was held to account.
“Now, we look for Chauvin to also be convicted on the federal charges pending against him and for the three other officers to face consequences for their actions. That would represent important additional steps toward justice.”
Chauvin faces further charges
Three other former officers involved in the incident – J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, are awaiting trial on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights and state-level indictments of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin also faces federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights and charges of allegedly using unreasonable force against a minor who was violently restrained by the throat while being assaulted in the head with a flashlight in 2017, as per NewsOne.
If convicted Chauvin could face an even tougher sentence. According to federal law, violating someone’s civil rights could lead to life in prison or even the death penalty, as per the LA Sentinel.
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