We are finally approaching the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, a police officer who murdered George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 25th, 2020. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter; which would lead him to serving 40 years in prison max.
Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines offer shorter sentences for those with little to no criminal background. Chauvin’s attorney requested the judge to allow Chauvin to serve on probation since he had no prior convictions.
Chauvin’s actions were labeled a “substantial causal factor” in the cause of George Floyd’s death, but cannot be accepted as the direct cause (or an intention in other words), due to the uncoverings of Floyd’s drug usage, allegedly, leading up to the event that lead to Floyd’s death. With claims being made that George Floyd “had enough fentanyl in his system to kill three grown men,” the court has taken into account the possibility that other factors contributed to Floyd’s death. Though his autopsy did indicate Floyd had drugs in his system at the time of his death, allegedly, it is not supported as the cause of his death. Floyd’s autopsy also indicated a positive test for COVID-19, that as we know, attacks the respiratory system.
What I find interesting is that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner stated the cause of Floyd’s death was, in simple terms, heart failure. Though the independent examiner hired by the Floyd family stated it was asphyxiation from sustained pressure, in other words, suffocation. I could see how if the cause of Floyd’s death was accepted as heart failure, it could positively factor Chauvin’s sentencing. The accountability could then fall more on drugs or COVID-19, which are known for affecting the functionality of the heart, depriving it of oxygen. Whereas, the claim from the independent examiner hired by the Floyd family could support that Chauvin in fact was a primary contributor to the death of George Floyd.
Many of us are anticipating this sentencing, though hopes for the outcome may differ amongst the public. Chauvin is the first white police officer to be charged with the death of a Black civilian in Minnesota, making this a huge mark in history in more than one way, whichever way it ends. Many of us are at the edge of our seats hoping our ideas of justice aligned with this sentencing is served. There are many sides to this story, but no matter what, a decision will be made.