Derek Chauvin was last night taken to a maximum-security prison and put on suicide watch after being found guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
As the verdict was read out Derek Chauvin looked on with no apparent emotion in the Hennepin County courtroom, where jurors spent three weeks listening to testimony about the day George Floyd died, under the weight of a 45-year-old officer’s knee, during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
The jury delivered its verdict after just ten and a half hours of deliberation to find Dereck Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Derek Chauvin was taken in handcuffs from the courtroom as Judge Peter Cahill promptly dismissed his bail pending sentencing. He was transferred to Oak Park Heights, Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison.
Derek Chauvin faces a minimum sentence of 12.5 years and a maximum of 40 years if he serves terms for each charge concurrently. If served consecutively, he faces between 29 and 75 years.
No prisoner has ever escaped from Oak Park Heights which houses about 500 of the most dangerous prisoners in the country, 25 miles east of Minneapolis, on the border with Wisconsin.
Derek Chauvin is being closely watched by guards at the prison to ensure his safety, not only as a suicide risk but also from other prisoners with violent criminal histories.
Jim Bruton, former warden of Oak Park Heights, described in his 2004 book about the prison, how the hierarchy among prisoners was determined by the offence committed.
At the top of the scale are those who have killed a law enforcement officer. At the bottom are sex offenders, with child molesters deemed the lowest of the low.
The hierarchy, coupled with Derek Chauvin’s notoriety as a police officer, means he will undoubtedly need bolstered protection.
Applause rose from the crowds that had assembled outside the courthouse and down at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, now known as George Floyd Square.
Cup Foods, the store in which George Floyd was last seen alive, shuttered its doors ahead of the ruling, and Joe Biden told the nation that the verdict conveys the message that no one is above the law, as he demanded new action to honour George Floyd after a killing he called a stain on the nation’s soul.
There’s no way they’ll let him into general population because he’ll be killed in seconds. Instead, he’ll get off with a cushy cell, and watched over like he’s an ex-cop.
Of course, George Floyd was no angel either, but that doesn’t mean he should have died, and it certainly doesn’t give a keeper of the law the power to kill him in broad daylight.
The thing is, most people out there aren’t angels by any stretch of the imagination but do they all deserve to die slowly in the street? And does it mean that every police officer has the right to go and be the judge, jury and executioner of someone’s life?
And the issue isn’t if George Floyd was an angel or not, and perhaps he did have a bit of a shady past, but in no way does that justify him being killed by a police officer.
George Floyd was in handcuffs, face on the ground with many other police officers with tasers and guns in attendance. I mean, where was this man going? What risk did he pose? Had he been discharging a gun or was he even endangering anyone with a knife?
No, George Floyd was pleading for his life, saying that he couldn’t breathe, as Chauvin took his power pleasure out on him, showing his peers and the people present just what a tough guy he could be, as all in attendance over nine long minutes watched him beg for his life, pleading not to die, and it’s far time people realised that the tone of your skin does not dictate criminality, just because you’re a different colour, or even a different race or religion.
Chauvin’s career was not squeaky clean and he should have been fired a long time ago, and it’s a disgrace that he wasn’t, because George Floyd would have been alive today, and all because he was attempting to pass a fake twenty-dollar bill.
And why are we getting all this dramatisation over Chauvin? When this is standard procedure for new prisoners at a maximum-security prison in the US.