Derek Chauvin set to be sentenced on Friday

Derek Chauvin.
(Image credit: Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

Two months after being found guilty of murdering George Floyd, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is set to be sentenced on Friday.

Video of Chauvin, 45, kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes during a May 2020 arrest went viral, with protesters around the world demonstrating against Floyd's death and police brutality. In April, Chauvin was found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

An attorney for Chauvin argued earlier this month that because Chauvin has a "zero criminal history score," is of "mature age," and is at "low risk to re-offend," he should receive probation and sentenced to time served. The state of Minnesota filed its own motion requesting that Chauvin be sentenced to 30 years in prison, saying his actions "traumatized Mr. Floyd's family, the bystanders who watched Mr. Floyd die, and the community. And his conduct shocked the nation's conscience."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggest that because Chauvin does not have a criminal record, he could receive between 10 and 15 years in prison. Judge Peter Cahill presided over Chauvin's trial, and will also deliver the sentence on Friday. In May, Cahill found there were four "aggravating factors" in the case that would allow for a longer sentence — that Chauvin committed a crime in front of children, that he acted as part of a group, that he acted with particular cruelty, and that he abused his position of authority as a police officer.

Richard Frase, a University of Minnesota criminal law professor, told CBS News it's routine for a defense team to ask for probation, but there would have to be "substantial and compelling circumstances" for Cahill to grant this. "Given the extreme high visibility of this case and the very strong feelings about this case, I would be surprised if the judge did grant probation," Frase said.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.