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Derek Chauvin sentencing set for Thursday

The former officer faces 20 to 25 years for violating George Floyd's civil rights

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In this still image from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, and his defense attorney Eric Nelson attend closing arguments on April 19, 2021, during Chauvin's trial for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Reuters file photo
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MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will be sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in federal prison Thursday. He pleaded guilty late last year to federal charges that he violated George Floyd’s civil rights when he took Floyd’s life in May 2020 .

Chauvin is currently serving a 22 and a half-year sentence for his conviction on state murder and manslaughter charges at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights. As part of his federal plea agreement, Chauvin will serve his state and federal sentences at the same time in federal prison.

Chauvin’s federal plea deal reached last year also admits guilt for a 2017 incident where he repeatedly struck a 14-year-old boy and kneeled on his neck and upper back for about 15 minutes. Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 in state court of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd’s murder sparked unrest in the Twin Cities and across the country, as well as calls to re-envision American policing.

Derek Chauvin booking photo, April 20, 2021. (Photo courtesy Minnesota Department of Corrections)
Derek Chauvin booking photo, April 20, 2021.
Minnesota Department of Corrections

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson last month to sentence Chauvin to 25 years in prison, arguing that Chauvin’s actions against Floyd were “cold-blooded,” and that Chauvin deserves a higher sentence for an earlier incident where he used a similar tactic on a 14-year-old boy.

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Prosecutors also argued that a higher sentence would send a message to other police officers “that although they undoubtedly have a difficult job, and one that sometimes carries life and death responsibilities, their role in our criminal justice system is a limited one, and does not include imposing punishment.”

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, asked the court last month to sentence Chauvin to no more than 20 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Nelson cited sealed letters from friends and family and “thousands” of letters of support he says Chauvin received from across the country that “speaks to his character and qualities as a human being.” Nelson argued that it’s clear Chauvin has expressed remorse for his actions and is ready to “continue to atone for his wrongdoing.”

Three other former Minneapolis officers charged in Floyd’s killing were convicted in federal court in February of violating Floyd’s civil rights. They’ve yet to be sentenced.

Former officer Thomas Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in state court in May. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in September. Former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng’s trial on state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter is scheduled for October . Both men rejected plea deals from prosecutors.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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