After the verdict against Derek Chauvin, the US urgently needs police reform to prevent even more black people like George Floyd from suffering. An analysis from the states.
Minneapolis – According to Derek Chauvin’s mother, her son is innocent. In the criminal case against the former police officer who killed the African-American George Floyd over a year ago, the jury had already decided differently about two months ago, namely guilty on all three counts. On Friday afternoon (local time) the sentence was announced in the courtroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota: 22.5 years imprisonment for Derek Chauvin for the most serious offense of the prosecution, murder of the second degree – under German criminal law, manslaughter with conditional intent.
It’s a long sentence, considering that defendants with no previous convictions are typically given 12.5 years. The public prosecutor had asked for a suspended sentence for 30 years and the defense.
Trial of Derek Chauvin – George Floyd’s family in court
The contrast between the emotions in the courtroom could hardly have been stronger: Almost everyone who speaks in court on Friday afternoon shows or creates emotions with what has been said – George Floyd’s daughter, his nephew, his two brothers, even the prosecutor has to swallow several times during his pleading and fight back tears. Dereck Chauvin’s mother, who sees herself and her son as victims of the circumstances, is visibly moved.
Only one person sits completely motionless, the only movement being the occasional blink that interrupts his cold, empty gaze. Derek Chauvin shows no emotion – not when the testimony of George Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter Gianna is shown on video, not when George Floyd’s brother asks him what he was thinking when he put his knee on his brother’s neck until he died , not when Judge Peter Cahill announced the 22.5 year sentence.
The murder of George Floyd: Derek Chauvin must be imprisoned for at least 14 years
Derek Chauvin will spend at least the next 14 years in prison before he can be released if properly managed. His term of detention may also be extended, however, as he is also being charged in a federal criminal case for having violated the civil rights of George Floyd through his act. He is also charged with violating the civil rights of a then 14-year-old black man, whom he grabbed by the throat during an arrest in 2017, hit the head several times with a flashlight and hit his knees on his neck and back in another federal criminal case squeezed while the teen was handcuffed on the floor. In addition, the ex-police officer is on record in his 19 years of service due to 18 complaints about excessive use of force on the job.
In criminal proceedings, however, the only thing that matters is to legally assess the specific case and to pass a judgment that corresponds to the culprit’s guilt. The presiding judge emphasizes this before pronouncing the sentence. Still, this ruling has a wider impact – for the family of George Floyd, for the black community in the United States, and for people around the world who were disturbed by this open, indifferent display of deadly violence by police. Judge Cahill considered two aggravating circumstances when determining the sentence: on the one hand, the abuse of a relationship of trust and authority by ex-police officer Derek Chauvin, on the other hand, the particular cruelty of the act.
George Floyd dies: his family grieves for life
While Derek Chauvin now has to serve a multi-year prison sentence, George Floyd’s death means life for his family, as his brother puts it. Unlike in German criminal proceedings, in US criminal proceedings more importance is attached to the victim or their surviving dependents and a greater role is given in court. George Floyd’s daughter testified that she always had dinner with her father and, “my dad always helped me brush my teeth.” When asked what she would say to her father at that moment, the girl replied: “ I would say I miss you and I love you. “
Police reform is urgently needed so that other black children are spared the fate of Gianna Floyd and they do not have to testify in court that they miss their father, who was killed by the police for no reason. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has already been passed in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, but has no chance of getting approval from the Senate right now unless the filibuster rule is abolished so that Democrats can vote by simple majority, rather than Republican votes would be instructed. Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota, also emphasized the need in a press conference following the sentencing: “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed – the cycle of inaction must end!”
Verdict against Derek Chauvin – show solidarity with the family of George Floyd
The reactions from people in front of the courthouse and in the rest of the USA are mixed: While many see the comparatively high sentence of 22.5 years as a good sign, others are disappointed that the prison sentence has not turned out higher. “This is the longest prison sentence that a police officer has ever been sentenced to in Minnesota history,” said prominent lawyer for the Floyd family, Ben Crump, after the sentence was pronounced. “But this should not be an exception when a black person dies of police violence. It should be the norm. ”If police officers kill on duty, only about 1.1 percent of them are charged with murder or manslaughter. And only around 0.04 percent of fatal police violence cases end with a homicide conviction.
Now that he has been convicted of manslaughter, Derek Chauvin is forever banned from possessing firearms, ammunition, or explosives. He also has to register as a violent criminal. A deep case for the defendant, who, according to his defense lawyer, loved his job as a police officer and “liked helping people.” Times the opportunity to comment. He glanced at the family of George Floyd to express his condolences and said that more information would follow shortly that he hoped would bring peace of mind to the family. On the US TV broadcaster CBS News, defense attorney and legal expert Rikki Klieman called this statement by Derek Chauvin “not only bizarre, but also sadistic”. Derek Chauvin’s mother, on the other hand, let the public know that he was a good person and her favorite son. (Johanna Soll)
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