Derek Chauvin, a former Minnesota police officer, is set to spend decades behind bars after his sentencing. He was found guilty of murdering George Floyd in 2020.
After his trial, the officer has been tried and found guilty of murder and manslaughter. His sentencing will take place in eight weeks.
Additionally, his request for bail was turned down. He was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder over the death of George Floyd last year.
According to Minnesota sentencing laws, second-degree unintentional murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. In the case of third-degree murder, the maximum sentence is 25 years.
Those convicted of second-degree manslaughter can face up to 10 years in jail.
However, the former police officer will only be sentenced for one crime: second-degree murder. According to Samuel McCloud, a criminal lawyer, the state law stipulates that he should only get charged for the most serious crime he committed.
Another thing that stands out is that Chauvin has no past criminal history. Typically, less prison time is given to offenders who have no criminal history.
That means such convicts get twelve and a half years for second-degree unintentional murders and third-degree murders and just four years for second-degree manslaughter.
According to media reports, Chauvin also gave up his right to have the jury determine if aggravating factors were present in the case. That means that the Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill will have to make that determination.
The presence of aggravating factors would increase his jail term.
A total of 12 jurors spent 10 hours before reaching a verdict. The prosecution argued that Chauvin had killed Floyd, while the defense said the former officer had used reasonable force and that other factors played a role in Floyd's death.
Many expert witnesses were introduced during the trial. These witnesses agreed that it was Chauvin's knee that resulted in Floyd's death and not drug use or an underlying heart condition, as the defense was trying to suggest.
Among these witnesses was a prominent pulmonologist, Dr. Martin Tobin, who explained that even a healthy person would have died if subjected to the same treatment.
However, that didn't stop the defense witnesses from arguing that something else caused Floyd's death. In particular, Dr. David Fowler argued that carbon monoxide from the police cruiser exhaust might have played a role in Floyd's death.
Fowler went as far as saying that Floyd's blood should be tested for carbon monoxide levels. However, the prosecution's attempt to prove that Floyd's levels were normal was unsuccessful since the judge ruled that the evidence was submitted too late into the trial.
Chauvin's defense also used bodycam footage from Floyd's arrest in 2019 during the trial. That was a year before his tragic death.
At the time of this particular arrest, which happened at a traffic stop, they found many opioid pills and cocaine in Floyd's possession. He was reportedly hospitalized after he swallowed several pills.
The defense argued that the two incidents were very similar and that they were clear proof that the man had a habit of acting out during arrests and swallowing pills in order to end up in hospital rather than jail. Chauvin's defense also argued that a white residue was seen during Floyd's May 2020 arrest, which was apparently because he had swallowed at least one opioid pill.
Last year, Minneapolis police officers were recorded on video arresting 46-year-old Floyd. He was a suspect in the use of a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket.
Floyd was pulled out of his car by the police and handcuffed. From there, Chauvin forced his knee into his neck for over nine minutes.
Floyd gasped for air and said he could not breathe. He then lost consciousness and died.
An official autopsy, however, showed that Floyd had fentanyl in his blood. Nevertheless, although he had 11 nanograms of the substance per milliliter, which is high and potentially fatal, it was not the reason he died.
An independent autopsy also showed that Floyd's death was caused by forceful pressure on his neck.
The independent autopsy also mentioned the presence of drugs in Floyd's blood. However, like the county's official autopsy, it insisted that a drug overdose did not cause the man's death.
Both reports concluded that Floyd's death was a homicide.
The defense tried to argue that a "speedball" (an opioid and stimulant combination) combined with hypertension resulted in Floyd's death through cardiac arrhythmia. However, according to the prosecution, the video clearly shows that Floyd did not die from a drug overdose – Chauvin's knee pressed on his neck for several minutes, leading to the man's death.
The other three officers involved in the deadly arrest will be tried jointly in the summer. Chauvin was tried separately due to the unique nature of charges against him.