A jury found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts he faced in the death of George Floyd. Many are now wondering how long Chauvin will be in prison once he is sentenced.
The 12 jurors in the case deliberated for around 10 hours before voting to convict Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
How long is Derek Chauvin going to be in prison?
Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades.
The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. The third-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and the second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Chauvin was convicted on all three charges.
It’s not known yet if the sentences would be carried out concurrently or if the judge would sentence Chauvin separately on each count.
Chauvin’s sentencing date has not yet been set.
The judge will consider "aggravating factors" when deciding how to sentence Chauvin. Here are some of the aggravating factors prosecutors could argue in Chauvin’s case:
- The victim was treated with particular cruelty for which the individual offender should be held responsible.
- The offense was committed in the presence of a child
- The offender committed the crime as part of a group of three or more offenders who all actively participated in the crime
George Floyd’s death
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020 while being detained by Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
A widely-shared video taken by a bystander showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he repeatedly cried, "I can’t breathe."
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the firing of all four officers the following day. Chauvin was arrested and charged with Floyd’s death on May 29 and the three others were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting on June 3.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide. The updated report stated that George Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement.
Derek Chauvin’s trial
Chauvin’s trial began with jury selection on March 8, though it was delayed until the following day amid a back-and-forth on whether to reinstate a third-degree murder charge. The charge was ultimately reinstated a few days later.
Jury selection took two weeks, with the final 12-person jury consisting of five men and seven women. Six of the jurors were White, four were Black and two identified as mixed or multiracial. Their ages ranged from the 20s to 60s.
Opening statements were delivered on March 29. The prosecution’s case included emotional testimony from those who witnessed Floyd’s death. Floyd’s girlfriend was also called to the stand, and she told the story of how they met.
Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, Chauvin’s knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.
Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson called a police use-of-force expert and a forensic pathologist in a bid to make the case that Chauvin acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of an underlying heart condition and illegal drug use.
The defense also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.
Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. Chauvin told a bystander: "We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy... and it looks like he’s probably on something."
The trial lasted just under three weeks, and closing arguments were delivered on April 19. The jury began deliberating at 4 p.m. local time that same day, and returned with their guilty verdict around 2:30 p.m. the following day on April 20.