Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is videotaping with defense attorney Eric Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the 19th of his trial for second degree, third degree and second degree homicide in the death of George Floyd with defense attorney Eric Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Pool via Reuters
The criminal conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd began Friday afternoon with emotional statements from Floyd’s family members about the impact on the victim.
Hours earlier, a judge denied a new trial against Chauvin whose brutal murder of Floyd, a black man whose death on video in May 2020 sparked calls for law enforcement reform.
Hennepin District Judge Peter Cahill wrote in an order that Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, had failed to show that Cahill committed errors that deprived chauvin of fair trial or that prosecutors committed wrongdoing.
Cahill also denied a defense request for a hearing on possible jury misconduct, saying Chauvin’s attorney failed to determine that a juror made false testimony in jury selection.
Prosecutors have asked Cahill to sentence Chauvin to 30 years in prison.
That’s a decade less than the maximum possible sentence he faces for second degree murder, the heaviest of the three charges on which he was found guilty by a jury on April 20 after the trial.
The jury also convicted Chauvin of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Chauvin’s attorney is calling on the judge to give the 45-year-old white ex-cop, who has been in prison since last year, to probation.
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Chauvin’s alleged prison sentence under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines is 12½ years.
Chauvin held his knee on or near Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old was on the floor while holding him on suspicion of using a fake invoice to make a purchase while three other Minneapolis police officers were in attendance stood next to it.
The shocking video of Floyd’s death, widely spread by news media and social media, sparked a wave of major protests against police brutality and systemic racism across the country.
The three other now ex-cops involved in Floyd’s arrest, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane, were originally due to be tried in August for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. This process is now scheduled for next March.
Cahill postponed the trial in the face of a state criminal complaint filed in May against the three officers and Chauvin for violating Floyd’s civil rights. The judge said he wanted to handle the federal case first and also wanted to put some time between Chauvin’s state trial and that of the other three police officers.
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