Derek Chauvin’s sentencing: How much prison time could he face?

Nation/world

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will face sentencing in about two months for his conviction on three charges in the killing of George Floyd, and he could end up spending decades behind bars.

After about 10 hours of deliberation, a Hennepin County jury on Tuesday found him guilty of all three of the charges he faced in the May 2020 killing, which was caught on graphic and shocking video, prompting a protest movement against police brutality that spread worldwide.

Once the verdict was read, Chauvin’s bail was immediately revoked and he was led away with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill indicated Chauvin’s sentencing would come in about eight weeks. He ordered a pre-sentencing investigation report on Chauvin’s background to be produced in the meantime.

Each count carries a different maximum sentence:

  • second-degree unintentional murder, 40 years
  • third-degree murder, 25 years
  • second-degree manslaughter, 10 years

But under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, for a person with no criminal history, each charge has a a presumptive sentence:

  • second-degree unintentional murder, 12 1/2 years
  • third-degree murder, 12 1/2 years
  • second-degree manslaughter, 4 years

Prosecutors are seeking a sentence that goes above the guideline range.

They cited several aggravating factors, including that Floyd was particularly vulnerable, that Chauvin was a uniformed police officer acting in a position of authority, and his alleged crime was witnessed by multiple children — including a 9-year-old girl who testified that watching the restraint made her “sad and kind of mad.”

Chauvin has waived his right to have a jury decide if those aggravating factors exist. Therefore, Cahill will make that decision and will sentence Chauvin.

In Minnesota, defendants typically serve two-thirds of their penalty in prison, with the rest on parole.

Chauvin, 45, could ultimately spend many years behind bars, making him one of the very few law enforcement officers to serve time for killing someone on the job.

It is unusual for police officers to be prosecuted for killings, and convictions are extraordinarily rare. Out of the thousands of deadly police shootings in the U.S. since 2005, fewer than 140 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter, according to data maintained by Phil Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University.

Before Tuesday, only seven officers had been convicted of murder.

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