Derek Chauvin could be considered one of the most talked-about people in America after he was caught on video kneeling on the kneck of George Floyd last year. Well, after an appeal by his lawyers, the prosecution has pushed for a harsher sentence for the ex-cop.
Read on for the whole story...
It seems Derek Chauvin's case has hit headlines once again...
As the prosecutors have requested a minimum sentence of 30 years for the murder of George Floyd, which they believe is justified through four aggravated factors...
Now, we've seen a glimmer of hope in America's justice system this past month...
The highly-anticipated murder trial kicked off in Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Courthouse on March 29th.
The prosecution started proceedings by playing the horrifying video of the moment the accused, Derek Chauvin, dug his knee into George Floyd's neck as he cried out, "I can't breathe."
As the trial of Derek Chauvin begins, my thoughts are with the Floyd family and every American impacted by racist p… https://t.co/VS7xyG75Tz— George Takei (@George Takei)1617063128.0
Special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury in his opening statement:
"You can believe your eyes. That it's homicide, it's murder."
Never-before-seen bodycam footage from the events of May 25th was also presented to the jury...
And gave fresh details of the minutes leading up to Floyd's arrest, as well as the moment he was confronted by the police officers.
Of course, the footage was utterly chilling to watch.
Days on from that revelation, the prosecution called an outside expert witness to testify about Floyd's cause of death.
The evidence continued to stack up against Chauvin...
And, clearly in panic mode, his defense continued to stress that Floyd had already put himself at risk by swallowing drugs and resisting officers trying to arrest him - factors that compounded his vulnerability to a diseased heart, raising sufficient doubt that Chauvin should be acquitted.
Chauvin eventually spoke for the first time on April 15th.
He invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not risk making self-incriminating statements, laying to rest speculation over whether or not he would take the stand.
It was the only time Chauvin's voice was heard in court, other than in videos played to the jury of him kneeling on Floyd.
Chauvin's lawyer, Eric Nelson, questioned him about his decision on testifying, mentioning that they had spoken multiple times about whether Chauvin should testify in a "lengthy meeting."
"Have you made a decision today whether you intend to testify or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege?" Nelson asked.
"I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today," Chauvin replied.
However, despite his defense's best efforts...
Things haven't been going in Chauvin's favor.
Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The jury found the former police officer guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
It was then confirmed that Chauvin has been placed on suicide watch and under the highest security.
As authorities are concerned about violence towards him from other prisoners, too.
It's to be expected, given the circumstances of his crime.
However, the prosecution have now asked for a minimum of 30 years for the ex cop.
George Floyd is unable to breathe and is dead because of Derek Chauvin's racist hate murder.— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) June 2, 2021
So I don't give a shit about Chauvin or his problems.
Boo fucking hoo.https://t.co/G4VAkExykQ
George Floyd's murderer Derek Chauvin feels he's entitled to a lighter sentence & probation. pic.twitter.com/mrkJXpCKRi— ClockOutWars (@clockoutwars) June 2, 2021
Wow! Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer asked the Judge to just reduce his sentence to time served and give him probation... Says prison will cause his client “long-term damage”... GTFOH... You know what actually causes long-term damage? Kneeling on a man’s neck for nine minutes...— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) June 3, 2021
Derek Chauvin's lawyer asking for probation after he killed another person is peak White privilege. Fuck Chauvin and his clown ass lawyer!— ✊🏾🇱🇷MisFitBlackGirl👸🏾LIB_QN32🌻 (@LibQn32) June 3, 2021
Derek Chauvin thinks he deserves probation after intentionally murdering Geoge Floyd mean while Chrystal Mason is serving 5 yrs in prison for casting a provisional ballot.— Coretta ♉ (@MizCoretta) June 3, 2021
Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, had suggested moving elsewhere due to the case being so high profile...
Nelson asked the judge to delay Chauvin's trial after the attorney for Floyd's family announced a $27 million settlement during the jury selection.
Judge Peter Cahill denied and anti-police brutality protests were rife throughout the trial...
Lawlor said he agrees with the judge's decision to stay in Minneapolis.
"Where in the country would the mood be different than it was in Minneapolis to have such a trial, right? I mean, where?" said Lawlor.
"Second, people had a lot of things to say, right up and down the line, but you would actually need evidence that it actually did affect the jury's decision."
The maximum Chauvin could receive is 40 years.
The prosecution have asked for the higher end of his sentencing due to four aggravating factors which were proven at trial.
The first is that he abused a position of trust and power.
The defense has called upon Chavin's long dedication to the force, serving from 2001 to 2020. He even received a medal of valor in 2006 when he was part of a team of officers who shot at a suspect who was pointing a shotgun at them. On the other hand, he did also have 18 complaints on his record.
The second is that he treated Floyd with particular cruelty, including ignoring his ongoing pleas for help and kneeling on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
Chauvin was also involved in a situation in 2017, where he hit a 14 year old black boy across the head so hard he needed stitches, and then proceeded to hold him down by his knee despite the boy crying that he couldn't breath. The court prohibited prosecutors from discussing the matter as they didn't want prejudice within the trial.
The third was that the crime was committed in front of at least two minors, which could also classify them as victims of the situation.
Despite Floyd not responding for more than two minutes, and no pulse detected, Chavin apparently refused to lift his knee from George Floyd's neck until paramedics arrived, despite witnesses urging him to do so.
And finally, the fourth being that he was part of a team of police officers, meaning that even though they are all standing trial individually, he was part of a group that ganged up on Floyd.
The former officers were all fired the day after the event took place. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao are all to be trialed later this year.
Taking these into account, the prosecution has requested 30 years for the ex-cop.
Chauvin's defense attorney has requested a lower sentence, even suggesting Chauvin receive probation.
Lawlor said Chauvin's attorney will likely wait to appeal until after the sentencing...
But he doubts it will be successful. And says that if it did go ahead, federal prosecutors could use civil rights charges with harsher penalties.
"Chauvin might want to quit while he's ahead, and probably should wait until he gets some sentence," Lawlor said. "If he gets 40 years, it's one thing."
"I think it's extremely unlikely that they're going to be successful," he added. "The arguments they're going to make are predictable, and they more or less already made them."
The other 3 police officers who were present when George Floyd was killed are due to be tried later this year.
Chauvin's sentencing is expected to be on June 25.
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