MINNEAPOLIS — Derek Chauvin is now the first white police officer to be convicted of murdering a civilian in Minnesota.
The former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. The jurors in the case delivered their verdict Tuesday afternoon after three weeks of witness testimony during which they watched graphic videos of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds as Floyd cried out, "I can't breathe."
The case became a rallying point for activists across the globe, with Rev. Al Sharpton remarking that the defendant on trial was really policing in the United States.
Chauvin was led away in handcuffs immediately after the verdict was read in court and transported to the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights, arriving just before 5 p.m. He will be housed there in a high security cell away from the general population, as part of an agreement between Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Guards will monitor his status every 30 minutes or more.
Judge Peter Cahill will soon set a sentencing date, which he said will be in approximately eight weeks.
Before Chauvin is sentenced, a presentencing investigation will be performed. Retired Judge LaJune Lange described this as a "background check" for the defendant, in which other factors can be gathered to help the judge determine the length of the sentence.
The prosecution has also filed a "Blakely" motion for an upward departure based on aggravating factors. Chauvin waived his right to have a jury decide whether those factors are enough to justify a longer sentence, and instead chose to have Judge Cahill make the decision on his own.
Because all three charges are for the same course of conduct, the sentence for the most serious count will determine how long Chauvin stays in prison. That crime is second-degree unintentional murder, and under Minnesota sentencing guidelines the presumptive sentence is 12 and a half years for a person without a criminal record.
Without aggravating factors, the judge could use his discretion to hand down a sentence as short as 10 years and eight months or as long as 15 years on that charge.
However, the judge could consider a heavier sentence up to the statutory maximum of 40 years based on the prosecution's Blakely motion. Some aggravating factors the judge could consider: a 9-year-old child witnessed the murder, George Floyd was handcuffed, and as a police officer Derek Chauvin was a person of authority.