Chauvin to be sentenced on July 7 for depriving Floyd’s civil rights

MGN Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin will be sentenced in federal district court this week for his role in violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Chauvin, on May 25, 2020, knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while he was in handcuffs as he struggled to breathe and ultimately lost consciousness. He pled guilty to violating his civil rights as part of a plea bargain in December and will be sentenced on July 7 at 2 pm at the Federal Courthouse in St. Paul before Judge Paul A. Magnuson. 

The maximum sentence for the charges he was convicted of is life in prison. However, the plea agreement stipulates Chauvin will be sentenced to anywhere between 20 and 25 years, with five years of supervised release. The prosecution recommends a 25-year sentence, plus supervised release, for what he did to Floyd and a 14-year-old in 2017.

“A sentence at the top of the plea range will serve as a reminder to other 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,” read the prosecution’s sentencing memo. 

Chauvin’s defense is requesting 20 years with credit for time served, plus five years of supervised release, because of his work ethic and how serving prison as a former cop mostly in segregation, as well as his diagnosis of heart disease, would affect his life.

The prosecution opposes the sentence because it would not punish Chauvin for depriving the 14-year-old of his civil rights. The 14-year-old, whose name is John Christopher Pope, Jr., is suing Chauvin and six other officers in federal court for depriving his civil rights. 

Chauvin was convicted of state murder and manslaughter charges for Floyd’s murder in April 2021 and is currently serving a 22-and-a-half-year sentence at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights. He would serve the federal sentence concurrently with his state sentence, most likely in federal prison.

Judge Magnuson has not yet decided when co-defendants J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao would be sentenced. Each was found guilty of depriving Floyd’s civil rights in February, with Kueng and Thao also convicted for failing to stop Chauvin. 

The prosecution recommends Lane be sentenced anywhere from five and a quarter years to six and a half years and both Kueng and Thao be sentenced to more than that, no more than what Chauvin is to be sentenced to for Kueng, and no more than 25 years for Thao. 

In state court, Lane pled guilty as part of a plea deal and will be sentenced on September 9. Kueng and Thao await trial, which starts with jury selection on October 24 at 9 am. The trial was originally delayed to 2023 to allow for publicity to die down but was rescheduled because Kueng’s counsel has a scheduling conflict.