Prosecutors seek 30-year sentence for Derek Chauvin

Prosecutors in Minnesota are seeking a 30-year prison sentence for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

Prosecutors wrote in a court filing on Wednesday that the sentence — twice the upper end of the recommended sentencing range — would “properly account for the profound impact” of Chauvin’s actions on Floyd’s family and the community.

“Defendant cruelly murdered Mr. Floyd in public view. His actions traumatized Mr. Floyd’s family—Mr. Floyd’s daughter, his siblings, his cousins, his aunts and uncles, his nephews and nieces. None of them will ever be able to see their beloved ‘Perry’ again,” prosecutors wrote.

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In separate filings, an attorney for Chauvin argued that he should get probation, and that his incarceration should be limited to time already served.

Eric Nelson told the court to consider Chauvin’s age, lack of criminal history, cooperation in the investigation, and attitude in court. He further said that Chauvin was unaware that he was committing a crime, and said it was best described as an error in his experience as an officer. 

“Mr. Chauvin’s offense is best described as an error made in good faith reliance his own experience as a police officer and the training he had received—not intentional commission of an illegal act,” he wrote.

A jury convicted Chauvin in late April of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s death. He is set to be sentenced on June 25.

Bystander footage of the killing showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes. He died shortly after at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Recognizing the broader impact of Floyd’s death, which sparked nationwide protests, prosecutors wrote that Chauvin’s actions “shocked the Nation’s conscience.”

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“No sentence can undo Mr. Floyd’s death, and no sentence can undo the trauma Defendant’s actions have inflicted,” Prosecutors wrote. “But the sentence the Court imposes must show that no one is above the law, and no one is below it.”

Chauvin will only be sentenced for the most egregious charge against him: second-degree murder. The recommended sentence was 12.5 years, with a range of 10.67 to 15 years.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled in mid- May that aggravating factors existed in Floyd’s killing, a ruling that opened the door to a harsher sentence.  

 

Chauvin was indicted by a federal grand jury last month for allegedly violating Floyd’s constitutional rights.