No apologies to George Floyd’s household
- A jury in April convicted Derek Chauvin of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.
- Chauvin is also facing federal civil rights violation charges that could add to George Floyd’s prison term.
- The three former Minneapolis police officers charged with complicity in Floyd’s death will be tried in March.
MINNEAPOLIS – Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin offered condolences to George Floyd’s family on Friday but did not apologize for his actions over the past year that caused Floyd’s death.
“I would like to express my condolences to the Floyd family,” said Chauvin. He said he could not speak further due to other ongoing legal disputes.
Chauvin’s mother also spoke, as did Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter Gianna, nephew and brothers. Floyd’s family and lawyers urged the court to give Chauvin the maximum sentence.
“This is not your typical second-degree murder,” said District Attorney Matthew Frank, demanding 360 months. “That is monstrous.”
Meanwhile, a small crowd had gathered outside the Cup Foods store where Floyd was killed to listen to the hearing. Some in the crowd sang and prayed.
A jury in April convicted Chauvin of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. He could get up to 30 years in prison.
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Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin’s mother, told the court that the media, the public and prosecutors had mistakenly portrayed her son as being aggressive, heartless, callous and racist.
“I want this court to know that none of this is true and that my son is a good man,” said Pawlenty. “Derek is a calm, thoughtful, honorable, and selfless man. He has a big heart and has always put others above his own. The public will never know the loving and caring man he is, but his family will. “
Pawlenty said Chauvin kept playing the events of that day in his head. “I saw the toll it took of him,” she said. “I believe a long prison sentence won’t do Derek any good.
She spoke directly to her son and told him her happiest moment was the birth, followed by the infection of his police badge.
“Derek, I want you to know that I have always believed in your innocence and I will never do without it,” said Pawlenty. “I have read numerous letters from people all over the world who also believe in your innocence.”
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Floyd’s daughter Gianna testified remotely via cell phone camera video. She wore a plaid shirt and purple headband and told the court that she was “asking how my father was hurt” and wishing she could play with him and let him help her brush her teeth like he did every night.
Gianna told the court that through his ghost she knows that her father is still near her. If she could tell him something, she would say, “I miss him and I love him.”
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams and brothers Terrence and Philonise Floyd also spoke, asking the court to give Chauvin the maximum sentence.
“My family and I were sentenced to life imprisonment. We’ll never get George back, ”said Philonise Floyd.
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Terrence Floyd said he would ask Chauvin, who was sitting a few feet from him, “Why? What did you think you were doing?
Sometimes he paused, touched, and looked down.
“We don’t want to see any more slaps,” he told the judge. “We’ve already been through this. … If it were us, if the rules were reversed, there would be no case, it would be open and closed. We’d be in jail for murdering someone, demanding the same sentence for Derek Chauvin. “
Judge rejects new trial
Hennepin County’s Jew Peter Cahill denied a defense attorney’s motion for a retrial on Friday morning.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, filed a motion alleging that Chauvin had been deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial, but Cahill said Nelson was unable to prove any of the allegations.
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What you should know about the conviction
Floyd died on Memorial Day 2020 when the 45-year-old chauvin kneeled on him outside a Cup Foods store in Minneapolis after several officials responded to a call for a forged bill. Bystanders videotaped the incident and the murder sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Although found guilty on three counts, Chauvin will only be convicted of the worst, as all of the charges stem from a single crime committed against one person. For first-time offenders who have committed second degree murder, the sentencing guidelines recommend 150 months or 12½ years in prison.
Prosecutors have requested that Chauvin be given a tougher sentence for the aggravating factors of Floyd’s death, including that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer and the crime was committed in the presence of children. Minnesota Judge Peter Cahill ruled last month that there were four aggravating factors, meaning chauvin could face up to 30 years in prison. But Cahill could judge him even less.
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Defense attorney Eric Nelson resisted a tougher sentence, saying the state had failed to demonstrate, among other things, that the aggravating factors existed when Chauvin arrested Floyd. Nelson moved to a new trial and hearing to challenge the verdict on the jury’s misconduct.
Regardless of sentence, a defendant for good behavior is likely to serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison and the remainder on parole, known as parole. Chauvin also counts for the time he has served since his April prison sentence.
Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, the three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting Floyd’s death, will be tried in March.
Meanwhile, a federal grand jury charged Chauvin, Lane, Keung and Thao with violating Floyd’s civil rights, which could extend the sentences the former officials may face. These charges accuse them of violating a federal law that prohibits government officials from abusing their authority.
Violation of an individual’s civil rights is punishable by a range of imprisonment, including life imprisonment or the death penalty, depending on the circumstances and violations resulting from the crime, according to the Justice Department.
Chauvin also faces another charge of confronting a 14-year-old in 2017.
Hauck reported from Morristown, New Jersey.