He has ” treated Mr. Floyd without respect and without the dignity reserved for all human beings, a dignity he would certainly have offered to a friend or neighbor “. It is with this concise sentence that concludes the conviction document of Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who killed African-American George Floyd by kneeling on his neck during an arrest in May. 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

United States, the trial over the death of George Floyd

Found guilty in April after a high-profile trial, the police officer was sentenced, during a sentencing session in Hennepin County Court on Friday, June 25, to 22 and a half years in prison for his actions. These gave rise to a wave of anti-racist protests unprecedented since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“Particular cruelty”

This sentence, a first for a Minnesota police officer charged with murder in the line of duty, is not as harsh as the 40-year maximum demanded by the Floyd family, but it is higher than the minimum of twelve years provided for by the scale of the State of Minnesota for the crimes alleged against the ex-agent. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill considered several aggravating circumstances in defining the sentence, citing in particular “The particular cruelty »Of the convicted person’s actions.

Like the trial, the sentencing session was punctuated by emotional moments, with testimonies from members of the Floyd family, including her 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, and her brother, Terrence. ” Why ? What were you thinking? What was going on in your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck ”, asked the latter to Derek Chauvin, sitting a few meters from him in the room.

Carolyn Pawlenty, mother of Derek Chauvin, also addressed her son. ” My happiest moment is when I gave birth to you. And my second, when I had the honor to pin your police badge on you “. In this first public appearance, she also took her defense by assuring Judge Cahill that she did not recognize her son, a ” good man », « honorable In the image portrayed of him by the media and prosecutors.

Dressed in a gray jacket and tie, Derek Chauvin also spoke briefly for the first time. He presented his ” condolences To the Floyd family and told them, cryptically, that he ” there will be other information of interest in the future. Hope things give you some peace of mind ».

“Still a lot of changes to be made”

The announcement of the sentence drew mixed reactions. George Floyd’s sister, Bridgett, said in a statement that she showed that the “ police brutality was finally taken seriously “, But that there was still” a lot of changes to make “So that blacks are” treated humanely and fairly by the police in this country “. Other members of the Floyd family described the sentence as ” slap on the fingers “. Ben Crump, the Floyd’s lawyer, nevertheless considered that she represented a “ no more towards reconciliation ” country and family, and President Joe Biden found her ” appropriate ».

United States: a year after the death of George Floyd, a positive dynamic

Derek Chauvin, who is expected to appeal his conviction, could be released from prison after fifteen years for good behavior. He is the subject of another complaint by the federal justice, but no trial date has been set for the moment.

George Floyd affair: “American society is neither pacified nor reconciled”


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