A Minnesota judge will sentence Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, a punishment that is being closely watched, with prosecutors requesting a 30-year sentence.
In April, a jury found the former Minneapolis police officer, who is white, guilty of murdering Floyd, who was Black, last year. The killing triggered massive protests against racial injustice and also prompted reviews of the police use of force including how much the law should protect officers when someone dies in their custody.
Chauvin was seen on video pressing his knee onto Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as Floyd lay facedown on the asphalt outside a convenience store with his hands cuffed behind his back.
The police had been called to the store after Floyd allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes.
The guilty verdict against Chauvin was hailed as a civil rights victory. His prison sentence is now being awaited as a possible affirmation of that victory.
Chauvin has been jailed since his guilty verdict. He will be in court for Friday’s sentencing hearing, wearing a suit rather than a prisoner’s uniform by a special order of the court.
Under Minnesota law, people sentenced to prison become eligible to be considered for parole after serving two-thirds of their sentence, as long as they’ve had no disciplinary problems while in custody.