Derek Chauvin’s Verdict—What’s Next?

Kenny Doan

On April 20, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was tried and found guilty for second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after Chauvin, who is white, kneeled and pinned George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died, last May. The death of George Floyd has sparked one of the largest civil protests in decades, which made one of the highlights of 2020.

Floyd, unarmed and handcuffed, pleaded for help, and the two police officers (Derek Chauvin and J. Alexander Kueng) forcefully restrained Floyd, who uttered the same dying words Floyd said to the police officers, “I can’t breathe.” Two other police officers (Thomas Lane and Tou Thao) were involved in George Floyd’s death and will be on trial later along with Alexander Kung.

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over pre-trial motions prior to opening statements, Monday March 29, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin, in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. (Court TV via AP, Pool) (AP)

Throughout the three week trial, many statements were made to prove numerous topics discussed such as debunking Floyd’s cause of death from pre-existing conditions. Many witnesses recalled the incident, including a nine year old girl nearby at the scene who said to police, “Get off of him.” The day before the final verdict was the emotional, six-hours closing arguments, which were said to the jurors, highlighting the morals of using the force against someone and the sense of how any sort of witness, including a nine year old, could realize what’s going on and the issue.

 

Where is Chauvin now? Chauvin is currently being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights. Originally, Chauvin was on bail, but it was later revoked after he was found guilty for the charges. Chauvin’s defense team has not commented on the verdict, but is expected to appeal. 

 

So, what’s next? With Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder, he is scheduled to be sentenced for all three charges in June. In Minnesota, state guidelines recommend that Chauvin be sentenced to 25 years in prison for third-degree murder and 10-12.5 years for manslaughter in the second degree. However, Chauvin could be additionally sentenced for his lead role in the killings of George Floyd. This possibly means that Chauvin could be sentenced as long as 75 years behind bars, although parole could be a possibility two-thirds of the way through a sentence.

The other officers (who were fired) involved in the killings of Floyd, will face trial on August 23rd of this year. Tou Thao, J Alexander Kuen, and Thomas Lane are facing trial and will be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. If found guilty, they could be facing as long as 40 years behind bars.

In conclusion, the trial feels like it is not over yet. There’s many more paths to go down before it comes to a conclusion, which is the sentences. There are also the other officers involved soon in the coming months. After nearly a year of the whole ordeal, George Floyd will soon be peacefully rested in power and the injustice of racism and police brutality will eventually be put to a stop.