Derek Chauvin Found Guilty, Awaits Sentencing
By Nicholas Kweyu
Derek Chauvin was on Tuesday, found guilty in the George Floyd murder case. The charges are second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. After three weeks of trial, the verdict was reached in less than a day by the 12-member jury on the case.
Following this, Chauvin was placed in an isolated housing unit in the Minnesota Correctional Facility. According to the Department of Corrections Spokesperson Sarah Fitzgerald, Chauvin is “on ‘administrative segregation’ status for his own safety”.
“Administrative segregation is when someone’s presence in the general population is a safety concern,” said Fitzgerald.
Chauvin is to remain there until his sentencing which, according to Judge Peter Cahill, is meant to happen in about eight weeks. Chauvin had been out on bail since October but this was revoked by Judge Cahill following the verdict.
Factors the judge will consider
According to Minnesota law, Derek Chauvin could potentially face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for second degree murder. However, given that he had no previous criminal record, state guidelines state that both second and third-degree murder should carry about 12 and a half years each and 4 years for second-degree manslaughter.
Prosecutors are requesting for a tougher sentence than those recommended based on aggravating factors. These include: the fact that the crime was committed in the presence of children, that the victim was treated with particular cruelty and that the victim was particularly vulnerable. Chauvin is expected to appeal the verdict.
Reactions to the verdict
Cheers by several hundred people could be heard outside the court as the verdict was announced.
Ben Crump, the Floyd Family lawyer said that the verdict marked a “turning point in history” and tweeted that “Painfully earned justice has finally arrived.”
President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris called the Floyd Family following the verdict. In a video of the phone call shared by Crump, Biden can be heard saying, “Nothing is gonna make it all better but at least God, now there’s some justice.”
Former President and First Lady Barrack and Michelle Obama tweeted that the jury “did the right thing”. They noted however, that more can be done.
“We know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial,” they said in a joint statement.
The other officers charged
The three other officers facing charges in Floyd’s death- Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J.Alexander Kueng – are awaiting a joint trial that is expected to start in August. They are being charged with aiding and abetting in second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.