Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, will learn his punishment Friday.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill will sentence Chauvin in the afternoon. Prosecutors have asked that Chauvin receive 30 years in prison. His lawyer is seeking probation.
The presumptive sentence for a person like Chauvin, who had no criminal history, is 12½ years for second-degree murder. Cahill could sentence him to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and remain within the guideline range.
Last month, Cahill ruled that prosecutors had proven there were four aggravating factors in Floyd’s death, paving the way for a longer sentence.
Floyd, a Black man, was handcuffed, in a prone position on the street May 25, 2020, as Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for 9½ minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and went limp. Floyd’s gruesome death — captured in a harrowing bystander video that was posted to Facebook and widely viewed — ignited a reckoning on racial disparities in America and fueled calls for police reform.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for about 10 hours before reaching a verdict. Under Minnesota statutes, he can be sentenced only on the most serious charge: unintentional second-degree murder, which has a maximum sentence of 40 years.
In arguing for a 30-year sentence, prosecutors said there were five aggravating factors in Floyd’s death. In his ruling last month, Cahill wrote that the prosecution had proven four of those factors: Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority; treated Floyd with particular cruelty; and that he committed his crime in the presence of children “who witnessed the last moments” of Floyd’s life; and with the active participation of at least three other people. (Cahill said prosecutors did not prove that Floyd was particularly vulnerable.)