Convicted killer Derrick Chauvin remains locked up in solitary for his protection after being remanded into custody following his conviction Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
It will be up to the judge to decide the former Minneapolis police officer's punishment. New York City attorney Randy Zelin says the judge will be reviewing aggravating factors to help determine the length of Chauvin's prison sentence. Prosecutors already want more than the presumptive 12-and-a-half years.
A jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
According to Zelin, one of the most impactful aggravating factors will be Floyd's last words.
"Those words more than anything else will resonate with the court as the court surely views the video and listens to the video and watches George Floyd's life basically expire before the judge's very eyes," Zelin said.
Prosecutors also want the judge to consider the fact Chauvin killed Floyd as children watched.
"The fact that he committed this heinous crime in front of children is one of the factors that judge is going to consider," said Julie Rendelman, a criminal defense lawyer and former Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney. "He's going to consider the brutality of the crime, the pain that he caused Floyd, the fact he disregarded his job as a police officer to serve and protect."
The public nature of this case is putting the judge's call in the national spotlight. It may prompt him to try to strike a delicate balance between a punishment that fits the crime but not one so lengthy it prompts an appeal putting this country through another trial.
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