Saturday, May 21

Derek Chauvin, sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of George Floyd

Former agent Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of African American George Floyd. After being convicted on April 20 by a popular jury, the judge sentenced him this Friday on the charges of murder in the second degree, murder in the third degree and murder in the second degree.

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The judge, Peter A. Cahill, has defended before reading his sentence that his decision has not been based on emotions, although he has wanted to recognize the “suffering” of the family, of Minneapolis, and even, he has said of the country and the African American community. This sentence marks the judicial end of a case that has revolutionized the fight against racism and police violence in the United States.

The Public Ministry had requested 30 years in prison for the former police officer, while the defense requested parole. For the first time since the start of the trial, Derek Chauvin has taken the floor to address Floyd’s family: “I want to give you my condolences.”

On April 20, a popular jury found Chauvin guilty of the three charges for which he had been indicted: murder in the second degree, punishable by up to 40 years in prison; murder in the third degree, with a maximum sentence of 25 years, and murder in the second degree (implies negligence), which carries up to 10 years of deprivation of liberty.

After the verdict, the content of the sentence remained to be known, which was finally finalized this Friday.

As in April, hundreds of people gathered around the Minneapolis (Minnesota) court this afternoon to follow the events. Many have carried posters with the face of Floyd, who has become an icon of the fight against racism in the United States this year.

Derek Chauvin kept his knee pressing on Floyd’s neck with all his weight for eight minutes and 46 seconds, resulting in his death. It all started when store clerks called the police because Floyd had allegedly paid for a packet of cigarettes with a fake $ 20 bill. In the images, which have become the main evidence of the prosecution, it is seen that Floyd did not show any violent behavior or pose a threat to the officers.

“It was nine and a half minutes of cruelty against a defenseless man who only begged for his life,” recalled Matthew Frank, the prosecutor in the case, to defend his request for 30 years in prison for a crime that, he claimed, was worse than shot or punched in the face.

Before the reading of the sentence, in addition to the parties, several relatives of both Floyd and the former agent have intervened. One of the highlights has been Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlently, who has addressed the court for the first time since the beginning of the case.

“Dereck has replayed over and over again what happened that day in his head, he said. Pawlently has defended the innocence of the former policeman and has regretted that he has been described as racist, before addressing his son:” You are my favorite son Thank you for your time, “he said through tears at the end of his speech.

Philonise Floyd, the victim’s brother, has asked for the maximum sentence for Chauvin. “I was a truck driver and my life changed forever with his death. I began to speak to the world on behalf of George,” said who since the death of his brother has served as the main spokesman for the family.

The death of George Floyd last year unleashed a wave of protests in the United States, and also abroad, the effect of which is still in force both socially and politically. In June 2020 more than 250,000 people gathered in the so-called March on Washington. The marches took place in other cities in the United States and also in different parts of Europe.

The North American country has the highest rates of police violence in the world, with an even more critical bias towards the black population. Police kill more than 1,000 people a year there, compared to rates in Germany, where security forces kill 10 people. Police impunity, the fear of the agents or the numerous arrests are some of the causes that explain this tragic ranking.