(Minneapolis) Derek Chauvin will serve his sentence this Thursday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights after an agreement was reached to extend the former Minneapolis police officer’s time behind bars and transfer him to a federal prison on potentially more favorable terms.
Posted at 7:07
Chauvin accepted a 20- to 25-year sentence during his December plea for federal charges in the murder of George Floyd, but U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson will make the final decision. .
Prosecutors are asking Derek Chauvin to serve the full 25 years in prison because Chauvin’s actions were reckless and unnecessary.
The defense is asking for 20 years in prison instead as Chauvin takes responsibility for what he did and he has already been sentenced in state court to 22.5 years in the murder of George Floyd. Attorney Eric Nelson wrote that Chauvin’s “remorse will be on display in this court,” and hinted that Derek Chauvin is likely to speak at Thursday’s hearing.
Former United States Attorney Tom Heffelfinger said a judge could consider such a statement when deciding the verdict.
“It’s an opportunity for him to say, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it or whatever,'” Mr Heffelfinger said. In federal courts, it is very beneficial for the prisoner to feel remorse and show remorse, even more so than at the time of sentencing by the state,” he stressed.
Derek Chauvin addressed George Floyd’s family briefly during his sentencing hearing in May 2021 and offered his condolences. Floyd’s parents had subsequently issued a victim impact statement, and they are entitled to do so Thursday. The family’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment about their plans.
In his federal closing speech, Chauvin admitted for the first time that he held his knee on Floyd’s neck — even as the black man asked him to stop, saying, “I can’t breathe” — before training the death of him. Chauvin, a white police officer, admitted willfully depriving Floyd of his right to be free from improper seizure, including undue force by a police officer, during the May 2020 arrest.
The death of George Floyd has sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world speaking out against police brutality and racism.
For his own protection, Chauvin is being held in solitary confinement in a 10-by-10-foot room in the state maximum-security prison, which he is only allowed to leave for one hour a day to exercise.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson said last month that Chauvin should never be placed among other inmates in a prison because of security risks.
Chauvin’s pleading requires him to serve the federal sentence at the same time as the state sentence and to serve it in federal prison. He is expected to spend more time behind bars than he would have for the state sentence alone.
However, experts argue that Chauvin could be safer and live under fewer restrictions in federal prison. His security level and ultimate destination are the responsibility of the United States Bureau of Prisons, which could send him anywhere in the country.
The former police officer would take risks within the Minnesota state prison inmates he had arrested or investigated. While he can’t quite escape his notoriety in a federal prison elsewhere in the country, he’s unlikely to meet inmates with whom he has a direct connection. When the United States Bureau of Prisons decides it is safe enough inside the prison inmates, it will have more opportunities to move around the prison, work, and participate in programs.
If he does well in the federal system, Derek Chauvin could be behind bars at 17-21 and a quarter if the judge sticks to the plea deal. In the state system alone, Chauvin could have been paroled after 15 years in prison.
Three other former Minneapolis police officers — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane — were convicted in February on civil rights charges over Floyd’s killing. Judge Magnuson has not yet set a date for the sentencing.
Lane is scheduled to receive his sentence on Sept. 21 after pleading guilty to second-degree assisted manslaughter in state court. Thao and Kueng have turned down offers of appeal and are due to appear in state court next October 24 on abetting and abetting charges.