Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will learn his fate Friday when he is sentenced for the murder of George Floyd , a killing that was caught on camera and led to widespread national protests over the treatment of black people by law enforcement officials.
Chauvin has been sitting in a maximum-security prison cell since a 12-member jury in April found him guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's May 25, 2020, death. Forty-five people testified at Chauvin's trial, which lasted three weeks. The jury deliberated a little over 10 hours before returning a verdict.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over Chauvin's murder trial, will likely hand down the sentence late Friday afternoon. Cahill said earlier that he had found "aggravating factors" that could lengthen Chauvin's sentence. Prosecutors are seeking 30 years.
The second-degree murder conviction could land Chauvin in prison for 40 years. The third-degree murder charge carries a sentence of up to 25 years, while manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years behind bars. It's likely that Chauvin's sentence on each count will run concurrently.
According to state law, Chauvin will serve two-thirds of his sentence behind bars and the remainder under a supervised release. The 45-year-old will receive credit for the time he's already served, according to state law.
Floyd was killed last year after police officers responded to a report that he had used a counterfeit $20 bill. The 46-year-old was handcuffed facedown on the street. He yelled, cried out for his mother, and repeatedly said he could not breathe as Chauvin pressed his knee to his neck. Bystanders who watched the incident unfold were also heard on the video footage telling officers Floyd could not breathe.
Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson has asked the court for probation or a significantly shortened prison sentence. The prosecution argued that Chauvin deserves the maximum penalty because the incident "traumatized" Floyd's family as well as the community and nation at large.
The three other Minneapolis police officers that were at the scene and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter will be tried in March.
Thomas Lane, who held Floyd's legs down, J. Alexander Kueng, who knelt on Floyd's back, and Tou Thao, who tried to block bystanders, had previously been scheduled to go to trial in August, but the judge decided to delay their trial so that a federal case could go first. A federal grand jury indicted all four ex-officers on charges of violating Floyd's constitutional rights.
Two groups, the Communities United Against Police Brutality and Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, have scheduled a march Friday afternoon in downtown Minneapolis. More than 100 people are expected to attend.