Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin learned on Friday that he had been sentenced for the murder of George Floyd, putting an end to a liquidation case that sparked global anger and racial differences in the United States.
Chauvin, 45, faces decades of imprisonment, and several legal experts predict that his sentence will be 20-25 years. Although it is widely expected that Xiao Wan will appeal, he still faces trial on federal civil rights charges and three other dismissed officials who have not yet undergone state trials.
The concrete barricades, barbed wire, and National Guard patrols that enveloped the county courthouse for Chauvin’s three-week trial have all disappeared, and much of the city’s tension awaiting the April verdict has also disappeared. Nonetheless, it is recognized that for a city that has been in a state of tension since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, Xiao Wan’s sentence will be another big step forward.
“Between incidents, videos, riots, trials – this is the culmination of it,” said Mike Brandt, a local defense attorney who closely followed Xiao Wan’s case. “The verdict is also big, but this is where justice comes.”
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree inadvertent murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter by pressing his knee on Freud’s neck for about 9.5 minutes, because the black man said he could not breathe and was limp. The bystander video of Freud arrested for allegedly passing the forged 20-dollar bill has triggered protests around the world and the reckoning of ethnic and police brutality across the country.
According to Minnesota law, Chau Wan will only be sentenced for the most serious crimes, with a maximum sentence of 40 years. But the case law stipulates that 30 years’ imprisonment will be the actual maximum sentence that Judge Peter Cahill can impose, without the risk of an appeal being overturned.
The prosecutor asked for 30 years, saying that Xiao Wan’s behavior was shocking and “shocked the conscience of the country.” Defense lawyer Eric Nelson asked for a probation, saying that Chauvin was a product of a “broken” system and “believe that he is doing his job.”
Freud’s family may speak
Cahill has found that the aggravating factor in Freud’s death sentence is higher than the 12.5 year sentence recommended by the state’s sentencing guidelines. The judge determined that Xiao Wan had abused his power and was particularly cruel to Freud, and that several children had witnessed the crime. He also wrote that Chau Wan knew that restraint against Freud was dangerous.
Cahill wrote last month: “The long-term use of this technique is particularly shocking because George Freud made it clear that he cannot breathe and that he is dying due to police restraint.”
Attorneys from both sides are expected to have a brief debate on Friday, and the victim or the victim’s family can make a statement. No family member publicly stated that they could speak.
Chauvin can also make a statement, but it is not clear whether he will do so. Experts say that without involving himself in a pending federal case accusing him of violating Freud’s civil rights, Shavin’s words can be tricky.
Shavin chose not to testify in his trial. The only explanation the public heard from him came from the body camera lens. He told a bystander at the scene: “We have to control this guy because he is a fairly large person… It looks like he might be doing something. Matter.”